Technology.am (Apr. 7, 2009) — Taiwan is prone to earthquakes, logging 20 minor ones in the past 2- weeks. Its researcher has unveiled a tiny low-budget device that can sense earthquakes within 30 seconds, enough time to issue crucial disaster warnings, the lead inventor said on Monday.
The metal tool the size of a tape deck can detect an oncoming quake’s speed and acceleration in time to estimate its eventual magnitude and warn trains to slow down or natural gas companies to shut off supplies, said Wu Yih-min, a researcher of the National Taiwan University.
“We can tell within 30 seconds whether it’s going to be a big or small quake,” Wu told reporters. “We can sense the scale and how much damage it’s likely to cause.”
The tool, which should be fastened to a place unlikely to be shaken by forces other than earthquakes, uses a chip that costs T$10,000 ($302) just a few U.S. dollars, Wu said.