The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

Donate Your Laptop’s Accelerometers to Science

And you don’t even have to disassmble it.  You can join the Quake-Catcher Network.  The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) harnesses the power of the accelerometers in laptops to aide in earthquake science.

Most modern laptops come with accelerometers inside them.  These devices are rather crude and are designed to turn off your hard drive should you accidentally drop your computer and save your data.  They can also detect other vibrations as well, including those from earthquakes.

By downloading the QCN software, your computer will send data from its accelerometers to Stanford.  They figure out your approximate location from your ISP.  Computers there will analyze the data, ignoring obvious false alarms and combine the data from thousands of computers to analyze earthquakes.

You can also donate a sensor to a school  for only $49 so students can become involved.  You can specify a school (where you have children or know a teacher) but it’s a good idea to be sure the teacher wants to be involved first.

Let’s all put our acclerometers to good use…and try not to drop your computer!


October 12, 2008 - Posted by | citizen science | ,

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