Posts Tagged ‘built-in sensors’

Distributed earthquake monitoring using laptop accelerometers

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

laptopNPRquakecatcher

This is a kind of brilliant idea, since current trends of laptops manufactured with accelerometer sensors. And this would be a large peer-to-peer earthquake warning system. Sounds like SETI@home, but for collecting data instead of processing it. From NPR.org:

Newer models of laptops manufactured by companies like Apple and Lenovo contain accelerometers — motion sensors meant to detect whether the computer has been dropped. If the computer falls, the hard drive will automatically switch off to protect the user’s data.

“As soon as I knew there were these low-cost sensors inside these accelerometers, I thought it would be perfect to use them to network together and actually record earthquakes,” says geoscientist Elizabeth Cochran of the University of California, Riverside.

So a few years ago, Cochran got in touch with Jesse Lawrence, a colleague at Stanford. They whipped up a program called the Quake-Catcher Network. It’s a free download that runs silently in the background, collecting data from the computer’s accelerometer and waiting to detect an earthquake.

Laptop accelerometers aren’t as sensitive as professional-grade seismometers, so they can only pick up tremors of about magnitude 4.0 and above. But when a laptop does sense a tremor, it’ll ping the researchers’ server. “And when our server receives a bunch of those, we then say, ‘This is a likely earthquake,’ ” Lawrence says.

No accelerometer sensor but still want to participate? That won’t be any problem since you can purchase a USB sensor for use on your desktop computers. A lot of these, reportedly, are being installed in public schools.

Courtesy: Make

Sensor-Equipped Footballs to Make Refs More Accurate

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

arush_cmu_footballtech-300x195.jpgAs everyone who’s had a ref make a bad call at their team’s expense knows, NFL refs aren’t perfect. But footballs and gloves with built-in sensors? Those might just make coach’s challenges history.

Dr. Priya Narasimhan of Carnegie Mellon University has developed the football and gloves, loading them up with wireless sensors that can precisely determine whether or not a ball hit the ground before being caught or whether or not someone had control of the ball before fumbling. It could also, using GPS, determine whether or not the ball cross the goal line. But the applications don’t stop there.

Eventually, the same kind of sensors used in the gloves could be adapted to shoes, to measure stride and running patterns, or even shoulder pads, to calculate blocking positions and force.The current version of the glove has 15 touch sensors on the fingers and palm, running to a wireless module on the back of the arm, said Adam Goldhammer of Richboro, Bucks County, a master’s student in electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon.

Source: Gizmodo.com