Skip to comments.A Chilean Teen Tweets About Earthquakes Better Than His Whole Government
Posted on 07/19/2011 4:04:11 AM PDT by James C. Bennett
If I were caught in an earthquake, I'd be pretty shell-shocked. But Sebastian Alegria, a 14-year-old Chilean high school student, decided to hack together a twitter alert system that's already a year ahead of the Chilean government's own planned project.
Alegria's rudimentary yet effective system comes from having survived Chile's own earthquakes last year and seeing the devastation that covered Japan earlier this year. Keen on finding an inexpensive solution for early earthquake detection, he rigged an Arduino and domestic earthquake detector to tweet seconds before detectable seismic activity. Tweeting from @AlarmaSismos, it has already successfully detected every major earthquake that could be felt from Santiago since May. And it's piling on the Twitter followers.
The only thing he has left to do is expand the project. He plans on deploying more sensors throughout the country, and is even working with carriers to start sending texts to people. Having the government help him a bit might not hurt either.
We need this kid in the US and so does Japan!!
nice, but getting a tweet seconds before an earthquake doesn’t help much.
Seems to me many people would get the tweet quite a bit before the onset of the quake in their area and would be able to get outside away from injury.
Dang kids ... with computers.
Sit down, shut up, and eat your peas!!!!!
Even a few seconds can make the difference between life and death. An obvious upgrade is to have a dedicated receiver that will "trip" only on receipt of such a message, and sound a distinct alarm. Should be trivially easy to do.
I believe when they say seconds, they mean seconds....like 2 or 3, and that isn’t time to react.
possibly. If you got a 30 second warning, you might be able to get away from a big plate glass window or something.
Aside from the comments about tweets moving at the speed of light, apparently it helps a lot more than government does.
For those techies out there. If you have not checked out the Arduino board and concept, it is really cool. My son and I had a contest at the local Maker Faire to see who could program the Arduino to make a servo act like a rainbird the fastest. Neither of us had programmed an Arduino before. He beat me but only because my computer froze and I had to re-boot.
(I think it is pronounced Arh-due-no)
You'd be surprised how long 2 or 3 seconds is, and the available time would be longer. Pretty much ANY structure will hold together for a few seconds, even under such stress. Time to duck under a heavy table, or dive into the bathtub, get to an interior room closet.
And it takes time for the compression waves to travel from the epicenter, as well, and that is certainly slower than the speed of "computer reflexes". Add that to the above times, and things start to improve.
personally, if I got a tweet alarm, by the time I figured out what it was and thought about what I should do, my couple of seconds would be up.
Which is why a dedicated receiver with a distinct sound is desirable. It gets past you those few "what the heck is THAT" milliseconds. You'd know "when I hear THAT noise, MOVE!". The idea of using the available connectivity over some horribly expensive dedicated alarm system is great (and probably more reliable, as folks here in Washington are finding out), and taking it the next step further, and have all those networks transmit their locations and times back to "earthquake central" AFTER sounding the alarm. That would, I suspect, vastly speed up the time to identify the epicenter and most likely damaged spots.
IIRC, someone built an R/C drone airplane with an Arduino to fly a pre-programmed course and take pictures....and now there’s a whole site!