(Mini) Earthquake in your living room

Today we stumbled upon [jimthree’s] Seismic Reflector while looking at projects that employ the Processing language we mentioned a few days ago. Utilizing a Boarduino and some vibration motors from a game controller, the Seismic Reflector does just as its name implies – rattles itself around whenever there is an earthquake. While this does seem a bit silly at first, we were fascinated to learn there have been 165 earthquakes just in the past week and almost no news reports, suddenly this device got a lot more interesting!

16 thoughts on “(Mini) Earthquake in your living room

  1. The author is pulling data from the USGS Earthquake RSS feed, not detecting quakes. The “reflector” is presenting the alerts in a physical form instead of just playing a sound or popping up a window.

  2. For those who clearly can’t be bothered to RTFA, this project is:
    a program running on a PC which parses an RSS feed from the US gov earthquake research guys.
    If it sees a big enough earthquake, it sends a command to the boarduino which pulses the motors on and off to reflect the magnitude of the earthquke.

    This project does not measure earthquakes itself. So trucks and trains going by is irrelevant.

    It is merely intended to make the user feel more connected to the events by providing near real-time feedback of earthquakes.

  3. Seems like the motors could have just as easily been directly connected to the serial port (or USB to serial adapter), and controlled via software. Or if he was going to use the Arduino/Boarduino, at least put an Ethernet shield on it so it can download the feed itself. Seems redundant as it is.

    Also, since he states his initial goal was to raise personal awareness of earthquakes and the human lives affected, it seems like there should be some magnitude filtering. Logically it should only be going off when there is an earthquake large enough to do damage, or else it is no more personal or significant than a vibrating email notifier.

  4. I first learned about the prevalence of earthquakes worldwide when I installed xPlanet, configured it to set my desktop background and set earthquake markers to update regularly. Holy cow there were lots of earthquakes!

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