Smartphone Weather App used to predict earthquakes

Do We Rely on Our Smartphones too Much?

The increasing dependence with which people rely on their smartphones means the handsets are becoming an intrinsic part of everyday life - with the devices utilised for professional purposes, communication and games.

And many consumers, who may want to protect their gadget with a different smartphone case, now use their mobile as a way of checking the weather forecast. Particularly during sunny periods, this can be a great way to ensure your summer plans are not ruined by a sudden shower.

14089184But consumers in the US may soon be able to go a step further, as Californian scientists have developed a feature that helps to predict the likelihood of an earthquake in the at-risk region at any given time.

Currently in the prototype stages of development, the app utilises the accelerometer present in smartphones to act as a basic seismometer, which is used to detect vibrations caused by earth tremors. We exoect the app to be developed for both Android and Apple.

The CrowdShake App

Scientists from the Californian Institute of Technology developed the CrowdShake app with those people residing in parts of the world that are vulnerable to earthquakes in mind.

However, one challenged faced by the researchers is differentiating between tremor vibrations and normal movement

California's location on the San Andreas Fault means the state is at-risk of large and frequent earthquakes. For example, the 'Great Quake' of 1906 was responsible for over 3,000 deaths following a tremor that measured 7.8 on the Richter scale.

Researchers claimed that the implementation of the smartphone app across the region would be unlikely unless the US government got involved due to the risk of a false alarm.

Richard Guy, a member of the team that created the CrowdShake app, told BBC News that the feature is an "extraordinarily attractive" product for monitoring earthquakes.

He added: "If there are just enough [phones] that are stationary, which could be a very small percentage, from that we can determine 'OK, an earthquake is under way and this is how intense it was at a certain point'."

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