Computer Servers Could Help Detect Earthquakes

Entrance of IBM Headquaters, Armonk, Town of N...
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IBM researchers have patented a technique using vibration sensors inside server hard drives to analyze information about earthquakes and predict tsunamis.

?Almost all hard drives have an accelerometer built into them, and all of that data is network-accessible,? says Bob Friedlander, master inventor at IBM. ?If we can reach in, grab the data, clean it, network it and analyze it, we can provide very fine-grained pictures of what?s happening in an earthquake.?

The aim is to accurately predict the location and timing of catastrophic events and improve the natural-disaster warning system. Seismographs that are widely used currently do not provide fine-grained data about where emergency response is needed, say the researchers.

IBM?s research is not the first time scientists have tried to use the sensors in computers to detect earthquakes. Seismologists at the University of California at Riverside and Stanford University created the Quake Catcher Network in 2008. The idea was to use the accelerometers in laptops to detect movement.

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