Raspberry Shake: A Pi-Powered Earthquake Detector

It’s always great to see a successful Kickstarter project, but let’s hope the Earth didn’t move too much for the Raspberry Shake team, whose earthquake detector is now available to purchase.

Intended for educational use, the Raspberry Shake is a shield that connects to a Raspberry Pi board via the GPIO. From here, it then connects to a second component, the geophone. Used together, the geophone and the Raspberry Shake shield are designed to detect and interpret vibrations. These are presented through software, as demonstrated above; while coins are used in the demo, any surface-based vibrations can be detected, charted, and recorded. It’s a seismic monitor that is far cheaper than the professional-grade equipment used in labs to detect earthquakes around the world.

The result is that when placed on the floor, and connected to a reliable power supply (or for potential danger zones, a UPS), the Raspberry Shake lets you watch Earth’s vibrations live from your computer. This might mean startling seismic activity that predates an earthquake or rush hour traffic. It might be nearby underground activity or even the impact of an event at a local stadium!

Now, there is a drawback. The Raspberry Shake is not your typical Raspberry Pi shield (or HAT). Costing around $375 for the most basic (1D) version, the Raspberry Shake and geophone ship with a dedicated enclosure. Also included is a Raspberry Pi, and a pre-programmed microSD card. A portion of the price also pays for the device’s testing, which takes place before shipping.

Of course, this isn’t your average Raspberry Pi project, but once again it’s amazing to see just what the computer can do, thanks to its size and versatility.

Recently, the Raspberry Shake has been picked up by Oklahoma Geological Survey, who plan to distribute 100 of these devices to schools, libraries and museums across the state.

Head to www.raspberryshake.org to learn more about this stunning project.

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