Chile is a particularly earthquake-prone country, and was recently hit with a 8.8 magnitude earthquake off its central coast in February of 2010. With any earthquake warning system, speed is paramount. You need to send the warning signal to subscribers as quickly and reliably as possible. Seeing a need for a better warning system, then 14 year old Sebastián Alegría took on the task at hand.
The result, Alarma Sismos, is an Earthquake warning system that has detected every major earthquake (over 5 magnitude) felt from Santiago since May 2011. The design is simple and effective. Alegría’s warning system uses an off the shelf earthquake detector, an Arduino, and a computer. When seismic activity is detected, the PubNub Data Stream feature sends the warning signal in under a ¼ second and publishes to Alarma Sismos subscribers. This warns subscribers when an Earthquake is 5-30 seconds away. Since 2011, Alegría’s twitter account @AlarmaSismos has gained 360,000 followers and continues to grow.
“My family helped me buy the equipment, but it’s important to note that it is not necessary to have a large amount of resources to make something useful and creative,” said Alegría in his interview with Rafael Ferrer of Info Online.
Check out Alarma Sismos in action below: