This Earthquake Sensor Is Powered By the Very Earthquakes It Senses

Illustration for article titled This Earthquake Sensor Is Powered By the Very Earthquakes It Senses

There's no doubt that earthquakes can be powerful, and usually the bulk of that power goes to destroying things. While you can't stop an earthquake from quaking earth, a Victoria University student has found a way to divert some of that energy to monitoring the quake it came from.


Typical, earthquake sensors are powered by battery, but Daniel Tomicek's prototype is very low-powered and can make due with just the energy created by swaying buildings. Victoria University explains it this way:

When earthquakes occur, the energy harvested from the vibrations activates the wireless transceiver to transmit the data packets which contain the sensor's identifier. The greater the vibrations, the greater the energy harvested and the more packets that are sent.

It's a far cry from using an earthquake's power to fight it or something like that, but there is a certain ingenious obviousness to using the power of a force of nature to power the devices that let us learn about it. Now someone just needs to get to work on a hurricane powered generator. [Victoria University via Treehugger

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I can see this being commercialized.

"Earthquakes got you down? Buy our new earthquake generator 5000, providing you power from the earthquake itself!"

*Install it and start using it - earthquake happens, house gets knocked down.*

"Honey our house is gone!" - Wife

"O gee wiz, well at least we have 5,000 watts from that earthquake!" - Husband

You know what, that would be a funny commercial, someone make it so.