This New Earthquake App Could Save Your Life

Chieko chiba, tsunami, earthquake, destruction, devastation, distraught, depressed, bad news, horrible, kesennuma miyagi japan, best of year 2011, gettyPaula Bronstein / Getty ImagesChieko Chiba walks through the rubble after going to see her destroyed home March 16, 2011 in Kesennuma, Miyagi province, Japan. The 9.0 magnitude strong earthquake struck offshore on March 11 at 2:46pm local time, triggering a tsunami wave of up to ten metres which engulfed large parts of north-eastern Japan. As the death toll continues to rise, the country is also struggling to contain a potential nuclear meltdown after the nuclear plant was seriously damaged from the quake. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

A new smartphone app is being developed at the University of California that could revolutionise the way people respond to earthquakes, the Cal Alumni Association reports.

MyShake is a mobile warning system in your pocket, a way of giving everyone the chance to detect earthquakes early and save precious minutes.

It’s the work of Richard Allen, director of the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, which focuses on sensors and communication devices for train operators, nuclear power plants, and other crucial sectors.

The technology was unveiled at the World Science Forum in 2013 — the team behind the project noting particularly how it could benefit those in countries that can’t afford earthquake detection systems as well as those living in risky areas like California who simply want to be better equipped.

The app works using something called the accelerometer, says SciDev, which is a sensor that measures the speed of smartphone movement, alongside GPS to identify tremors.

At the moment, earthquake apps, such as the Red Cross’, simply transfer alerts to smartphones after they have been picked up by the authorities.

Allen told the forum the system has “enormous potential” and believes that with one billion smartphones worldwide, it will grant improved safety to the masses.

Testing of MyShake, which will be free, is ongoing there’s hope it will be able to detect magnitude 3 quakes at 100 kilometres very soon.

With California particularly at risk from earthquakes, mining data to trigger alerts to the public is a welcomed idea in the area.

The Berkeley Science Review reports students on the university campus are trialling it and Qingkai Kong, who’s working on the development, says it could “open up a whole new world in seismology.”

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