Usually the law of unintended consequences refers to something negative. This is an unintended consequence that could have positive benefits. Who would have thought that a sleep application could help with the understanding of earthquakes and the impact of earthquakes on a personal level?
Good point. Plus I don't suppose a sleep monitor would make any difference when a quake occurs during the day. Maybe a heart beat monitor or even a step counter might record some useable data. Probalby putting something on animals might be an interesting study. Did you see that UC Berkeley says it can produce a 10-20 second warning before a quake hits. It uses the P-wave detected by sensors. Here's a paper about it.
Ubiquitous networked sensors can have amazing results. This application might serve to detect and locate other disturbances like loud noises (explosions, gunfire), etc. Essentially, Jawbone has made humans function as specialized sensors. I can also envision IOT giving much finer granularity and speed to mapping things like utility outages, and wind, water and fire damage. I have heard of a system of distributed detectors that rapidly identifes an earthquake and warns surrounding areas faster than the shaking travels, giving ppl at least a few seconds to find safety. Here in Seattle, they have figured-out how to measure traffic speed just by watching cell-phone traffic (presumably tower hand-overs).
They have this earthquake early warning system in Japan. You can see it in action on Youtube with one of the aftershocks of the Fukushima quake. You can watch the counter count down from 28 seconds until the earthquake hits:
In comparison we are in the dark ages in California. I've heard of lots of plans and studies and pilot programs over the years, but yet no actual working system online or connected to an alarm on our phones. I imagine it is still years away, due to the slow bureaucracy of the state and USGS.
Wow. That's an amazing and scary video.Japan should be light years ahead of us. They have huge earthquakes there. Huge. Here's the video again that tb100 sent. You can see the warning first and then the quake hits and builds.
If the accelerometer can be sensitive enough to act like a seisemometer, every smart phone can provide information on where and when earthquake happens. A server can then gather the information and boardcast to the others.
chanj0, If the data came with GPS coordinates, it would be way better than just knowing a cell-based approximate position. But a 2-D low-pass filter would be needed to remove the noise caused by purely local movements; in fact, a non-linear filter would be best, stage 1, a local one "disqualifying" units that are obviously being moved-around, stage 2, a "voting" or "olympics" filter to cull-off spurious jostles, and then a 2-D linear LPF. I wonder if things like cell-connected Smart Meters would be a better solution, reducing or eliminating spurious signal: there is already a reason to detect earth-movement at the meter: Earthquake Sensitive Shutoff Valves (ESV) are mandated in some places like California. Adding either an accelerometer or valve-sensor to the meter seems rational. Temperature, Barometer and AC Power are also rational extensions, as are Water/Gas Mains Pressure Sensors. GPS coordinates could be logged at install.
Overall, I think rapid response without having to continuously crunch huge data is key to making this deployable.
BTW, have you looked at the array visualizations: That's a cool technology!