Have you ever wanted your own personal seismograph capable of monitoring earth’s movements? Well, you’re in luck. That’s because Angel Rodriguez has launched a professional-grade sensor-digitizer that simply plugs into your Raspberry Pi and allows you to begin tracking earthquakes from about magnitude two and higher within a radius of 50 miles, and a magnitude four and higher in a radius of 300 miles.
The aptly named Raspberry Shake can detect and record short period (0.5–15Hz) earthquakes — the further away the ‘quake, the less of that range of frequencies can be recorded.
At the heart of the Raspberry Shake is a 4.5Hz geophon with an 18-bit digitizer sample at 50sps with data presented in miniSEED format. Don’t know what that all means? Essentially, the add-on board converts movement into voltage — think of if like a microphone for geology. Inside the little geophone a coil moves relative to a magnet, creating current.
As Rodriguez explains, the small current mentioned above is then amplified with some ultra-quiet state of the art op amps. Once amplified, the signal is digitized, then that data are shipped to the ARM processor and bundled into one-second packets that are shipped to your Raspberry Pi.
The Raspberry Pi timestamps the data and stores it in a seismic industry standard format and sends it in answer to client requests. Those requests are displayed on your smartphone or computer monitor. The complete system is called a seismograph.
If you’ve always wanted to “see” the vibrations that are all around us but are generally not felt, then head over to the Raspberry Shake’s Kickstarter campaign.