Smartphones As Potential Earthquake Sensors? Seismologists Nod a Yes.

Seismologists have found a great friend in a smartphone chip that collects real-time and accurate data of earthquakes with magnitude > 5. The chip was originally used to maintain the orientation of the screen, but studies show that the same chip can now transform your smartphone into a potential earthquake sensor. Famous as Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) accelerometer, the sensors measure the rate of acceleration of ground motion and vibrations of various structures including cars and buildings. MEMS also finds itself in laptops, where it senses various movements and speeds of games.


Seismologists Antonino D'Alessandro and Giuseppe D'Anna, both working at the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy, wanted to check the reliability of this sensor in detecting quake-created ground-motions, and for the very same purpose they tested the LIS331DLH MEMS accelerometer in an iPhone, and when its results were compared with those registered from the earthquake sensor EpiSensor ES-T force balance accelerometer, it was observed that the MEMS accelerometer was able to detect moderate to strong earthquake (magnitude greater than 5) when placed near the epicenter. Researchers are pretty confident that this technology would further evolve to sense quake with magnitude lesser than 5.

They believe that it's just advantageous that most of the smartphone and laptops include MEMS technology, thus enabling a dramatic span in case a strong earthquake breaks the slumber. They're hopeful of creating a modern seismic network that channels real-time motion data to a set central location.


  • Sarathkumar Chandrasekaran
    Sarathkumar Chandrasekaran
    Its one of the best way of application of sensor power in real time world.I had used smart tools app in andoid and used vibrometer which is quite similar to the working of big earthquake monitors.It was good but I didnt expect that the sensor in a phone could do a magic like this.The sensors power to sense a magnitude >5 is astonishing.
  • prahu mac
    prahu mac
    i think this would be of great use especially in earth quake prone zones.

You are reading an archived discussion.

Related Posts

Edward Snowden’s public disclosure of PRISM program by NSA has caused uproar among privacy enthusiasts worldwide. As the US government is trying to justify its move, people are now working...
Now Samsung’s smartwatch tried to solve the problem of calls on a smartwatch by introducing a speaker phone. The trouble with this speakerphone was that everyone on your vicinity could...
Now this is a problem of engineers all over. Buried in assignment or exams you often miss on current affairs of the world. So what do you do to keep...
when measuring very low resistance(miliohm), it is necessary to perform 4 wire test in order to get an accurate reading. However, can opamp(comparator) provide a better accuracy when come to...
So we've had an eventful September 2013! We're excited to announce three winners of the CEoM contest - CEoM September 2013 : @SarathKumar Chandrasekaran First Runner : @Satya Swaroop Dash...