Do you remember SETI@home? It was 1999 and many many people were helping Berkeley to search for aliens 🙂 Later there were quite a few similar projects which were using the computational power of our computers.
These days we can use so much more than just CPU and memory. Berkeley (Berkeley Seismological Lab) has come with another project called MyShake. Its goal is to build a worldwide seismic network. Practically their MyShake app use the ability of our smart phones to recognize earthquake shaking exploiting their sensors. When the shaking fits the vibrational profile of an earthquake, the app sends the anonymous information to the central system that confirms the location and magnitude of the quake.
The goal of the project is to use the data to reduce the effects of earthquakes on us as individuals, and our society as a whole. MyShake also provides users with information about recent earthquakes around the world and significant global historical earthquakes.
Berkeley works on the project along with Deutch Telekom (T-Mobile Germany) which also presented the app on the MWC. More information can be found on myshake.berkeley.edu.
From our – realtime communication – point of view this is a great example how the IoT is coming. Each device can be via some app plugged into the IoT network. In the future we don’t need to limit ourselves to smartphones only. It is simple enough for the proof of concept, but static monitoring devices can be even better. Why not to use devices from Low power networks? For some of them (e.g. pipelines) this information can be priceless anyway. On the other hand your smart phone can still do a great job when the real earthquake comes. It could then work in the similar way as the avalanche beacons do – just in more intelligent way. It can report if you were affected e.g. by a collapsed building, if you are still alive, send your GPS coordinates … and in order to maximize the battery life, it can do it over the LPN.