Friday, June 03, 2011

Product ideas - EarthQuake early warning system.

This is my notes about a possible product I was considering back in the 90's I eventually wrote this up in 2007.
I ended up deciding I wanted to stick to my Video work.
So I am publishing it here. Please excuse spelling and grammar errors, I haven't cleaned this up.

I think by now others have also started to implement systems like this.


To make Internet connected earthquake early warning devices as ubiquitous as smoke detectors are today.

Basic Concept:
 To use a mesh of low cost microprocessors connected together over the internet to detect and track waves from earthquakes that are large enough to cause damage.

The Challenge:
To use the internet to relay and provide early warning as large waves from an earthquake damage and shut down the power grid and the internet infrastructure.
An earthquake wave must be detected and reported in the fractions of a second before the power and internet fail from the effect of these destructive waves.

The Device:
  I small box about the size of the old Radio Shack weather cubes ~ 10^3 cm , but connected to WiFi or Ethernet.  Contains a speaker, one or two simple push button controls and internal shake sensors.

System Overview:

   simple CPU project boards, Atmel, Altera Nios, PIC micro
   Tilt switches / motion sensors.  To detect only gross movement.
   Digital Input for Seismic Pwave detectors.
   Relay,  Digital output for input to alarm / protection systems.

   Possible output LCD display or serial RS232 / RS485 for LED sign output too.

  Setup P2P grid over public IP internet.

  When one area get's hit it reports to neighbors and several remote servers of it's disturbance.
  When several get hit together they propagate a warning.

  System needs to know zipcode or GPS location.  GPS will not be included.
  Back end server could confirm location based on IP address.

Detection and early warning of:
 Primarily Earthquakes

 Could also warn of Tsunami's, Tornados, Hurricanes, flood or strong winds if connected to Weather feed.

 Tools:  EAGLE Layout Editor


Product write up,
  - Drawings
  - Claims
Bussiness plan
Get Market intel, competition
Market for Smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide detectors

Power point presentation

Graphics and drawing
  - Make a drawing of overall system architecture
  - Overview,
  - Maybe animation of how it might work


  Remote sensor network, Mote's
1.) mesh of Internet connected sensors / alarms
2.) battery power field units with Radio transmitters, these going into IP connected Base Units

  Infrastructure to support that.
3.) P2P net with smarts to realize real from false triggers
4.) Centralized management system, several redundant sites.

5.) web clients to report to users
6.) command line / daemons for servers and industrial


SMT-917 Super loud audio transducer.
100 dB at 2500 Hz!

Rated Voltage: 5 Vp-p
Operating Voltage: 3-7 Vp-p
Resonant Frequency: 2730 ± 500Hz
Sound Pressure Level @ 10 cm (Min.): 85 dBA
Rated Current (Max.): 80 mA
HEIGHT: 4 mm
WIDTH: 9 mm
LENGTH: 9 mm


Mini web servers.

Lantronix Xport

ENC28J60 Ethernet controller chip in 28-pin DIP The ENC28J60 is a stand-alone Ethernet controller with SPI Interface.
 Freescale 16-bit microcontrollers  MC9S12NE64 MC9S12NExx

  1. P-Wave: These are called 'P' for Primary Wave is a Compressional wave and travel the fastest and are usually felt first. They are basically sound waves that travel thru the earth from the epicenter of an earthquake. Physics types know this as a longitudinal wave. It "shakes" things in the same direction it travels. For example, if a P-Wave is traveling West to East, all the things in the way, like people and buildings, will oscillate or move back and forth in the West-East direction. Similar to a long straight line of bumber cars! The one in the rear hits the first one and it hits the one in front of it and so on and so on. After each collision, the car bounces back to its original position only to be hit and bumped forward again. Some properties?
    1. FAST! They can travel up to 20 times the speed of sound in air!
    2. Typical speeds are 330 m/s in air, 1450 m/s in water and about 5000 m/s in granite
    3. Usually noticed like, "I heard the earthquake coming!" This is because it IS, indeed, a sound wave. Most often it isn't noticed tho.
    4. Very little, if any, damage.
  2. S-Wave: Shear waves, also known as secondary or S-waves are much slower and much more destructive than P-Waves. They are transverse waves. This means they make the earth vibrate perpendicularly to the direction of the wave travel. Not getting it? Think of a rope loosely held by two people. One person starts moving his/her/its hand up and down rapidly. Notice the "wave" in the rope goes from person 'A' to person 'B' while the rope itself simply vibrates up and down - perpendicular to the direction between the two people. This wave causes damage due to its configuration. It causes buildings to be thrust upward from the ground then the ground drops out from under it as the wave travels by.
  3. Rayleigh Wave: This is a combination P and S-Wave. It's analogous to an ocean wave. It's both longitudinal AND transverse. It's hard to envision, The surface, while vibrating forward and backward in the direction of the wave is vibrating up and down perpendicular to the direction of the wave. The result is the surface moving in a vertical circular path - back and forth AND up and down. The Rayleigh wave is particularly damaging because it force against structures is moving in two directions at once.
  4. Love Wave: Not a scary sounding wave, but very destructive! This one is similar to a Rayleigh Wave but on its side. It forces the the surface to move forward and backward and left and right at the same time, in a circular motion. This is also, very damaging.

P or push waves, S or shake/shear waves and L or surface waves.

The mechanical properties of the rocks that seismic waves travel through quickly organize the waves into two types. Compressional waves, also known as primary or P waves, travel fastest, at speeds between 1.5 and 8 kilometers per second in the Earth's crust. Shear waves, also known as secondary or S waves, travel more slowly, usually at 60% to 70% of the speed of P waves.

Earthquake waves travel at very high speeds - about 7 km per second (about 25,000 km per hour).

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Spaulding, Namowitz, Heath. Earth Science. Heath, 1994. [Figure 15.9] 8 - 13 km/s
"Earthquakes." Microsoft Encarta. CD ROM. 1996. "P waves are the fastest seismic waves; they travel in strong rock at about 6 to 7 km (about 4 mi) per second." 6 - 7 km/s
What Happens When an Earthquake Occurs? Recent Earthquakes in California and Nevada. USGS. "The fastest waves, the P-wave, travels outward at a speed of about 3 to 5 miles/second." 5 - 7 km/s
Magill's Survey of Science. Earth Science Series, Vol. I. Magill-Salem, 1984. "P-wave: a type of seismic wave generated at the focus of an earthquake traveling 6 -8 km/s, with a push and pull vibratory motion parallel to the direction of propagation; ''P"stands for primary, as P waves are the first and fastest to arrive at a seismic station." 6 - 8 km/s
Parent's Guide - P. Earthquake ABC. USGS. "Local rock type and the depth of the earthquake cause slight variations, but the number of seconds between the P and S wave times 5 is approximately the distance in miles to the earthquake. (Remember that some of that distance may be down into the Earth.)" 8 km/s

Don't trust -  The primary or P-waves move through the earth at a speed of 3 miles/second. The secondary or S-waves move through the earth at a speed of 2 miles/second.

7 (kilometers per second) = 15 658.554 mph = 4.34 Miles per second

1.5 (kilometers per second) = 3 355.40444 mph

S-wave will take 20 second and p-wave will take 30 seconds to travel 80 miles.


"A capability is emerging, however, to predict and warn of effects within tens of seconds after an earthquake occurs, but before the seismic waves reach a specific place, using high speed data acquisition, processing, and communications systems."

"For wellinstrumented volcanoes, it is possible within seconds following an eruption, to predict when a flow of water and mud down a valley might reach a city, with sufficient lead time to implement emergency measures before the flow arrives. Similarly, it is possible to detect the occurrence of an earthquake and send warnings before the seismic waves reach places more than several tens-of-kilometres away, in time to sound alarms or take other measures."

"The seismic waves generated at the earthquake focus propagate outward at velocities of about 6-8 km/sec, and the more destructive waves travel at an even lower velocity. Therefore, it would take the first waves at least ten seconds to reach a distance of 100 km from the focus, for example, by which time the parameters of the event can be determined and disseminated automatically. This in fact has already been done in Mexico City following an earthquake, and the capability presently exists to do it in southern California. Such information can be used for a variety of actions, including activating valves, backing up computers, and redirecting electrical and communications circuits"

Earthquake net

To track earthquakes and use the internet as an advanced warning systems for earthquakes

Do this as an opensource project

Can be useful for UPS , automatic shutdown and backup procedure, auto turn off of chemical processes, opening of fire dept garage doors etc.

System could also include panic buttons
could also provide advanced warning of other sudden events like tornadoes and tsunamis.

protocol will include several forms of detectors.
  1.) clapper ( ring with metal wire in center that makes contact with shaking over ~3mm)
  2.) Pwave
  3.) Seismic that can provide an analog data feed even.
  4.) None, just it's very presents of on net reports some info.   (we could also track net failures...?)

clients must be registered with ID numbers and security keys. There is a client ID per computer or location.
Clients must provide zipcodes or lat/lon, this can be confirmed by IP address, we can also do this with a referral only system.

Do a Linux and BSD parallel port driver that generates a simple IRQ when 2 pins make contact, use  a simple bell clapper type of circuit for large shake detection.
Mayeb a USB serial device for windows?

basic protocol

XML file is pulled from master web site where equake servers are located.

eQuake servers
speak udp

track users status
every 4 minutes udp packets are pinged, these report status
if shaking occurs clients send udp immediately to server.

If server sees (n) clients in similar regions activated in a short time span then server sends out flood of UDP to all registered clients warning them.


UPDATE: 8/22/2011

Early Earthquake Warning System In iOS 5
"A very important and functional feature has been added to Apple's iOS 5 for Japanese users: an earthquake warning system. This new feature may allow the people of Japan to be warned early enough to get out of harm's way and ultimately save lives. Most phones sold in Japan have some way to warn the user of Earthquakes."

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