Raspberry Pi Powered Tool Detects Earthquakes on the Cheap

The Raspberry Pi Shake is a tiny computer with sensors attached to it that can pick up on vibrations. With its latest revision, the Shake 4D, it is even more perceptive in picking them up. In fact, it may even be used to detect early warning signs of a major earthquake.

What’s Special?

Mike Hotchkiss, one of the creators of the Shake, says that their newest device is compatible with Early Earthquake Warning (EEW) systems.

You might be thinking what’s so special about that, don’t seismographs already fit that description. Oh but there’s more.

Traditional seismographs cost thousands of dollars and require special equipment and staff to install and manage. Well, the Shake 4D will be available for purchase for less than half that amount at $500.

This drastically smaller price tag is one of its key highlights. According to Mike, where scientists, researchers, and other organizations could only buy 10 traditional seismographs, they can now purchase thousands of shakes (no pun intended) for the same price.

Another plus point is its ease of installation and use. No trained staff is required, plus no special equipment is needed. It is as simple as placing it on the ground (preferably) and plugging it in. That’s it.

What Can it Do?

The Raspberry Shake can be used in a multitude of ways. You can detect any activity which generates vibrations. From earthquakes to the demolition of buildings to even your next room neighbors footsteps (creepy I know!).

You can watch the video below to get a better idea of the device:

Make no mistake, with a price tag of $500 (~Rs. 52,600) this device is certainly not made for the average Joe. Rather it is aimed at the research industry and a niche enthusiast market.

Via The Verge


  • Shahid Saleem

    You don’t need pi for this, you can even use old mobile phone with a good accelerometer. Just google for

    mobile phone detect earthquake

    for ideas & apps. Not a new thing.

    For a practical example (which only works right now if enough people in a region use it) install the MyShake app from the Play Store.

    • Aamir

      بڑی گل کیتی …… تالیاں بلیک اینڈ وائٹ ١٤” الیکٹرا آپ کا ہوا

    • Aizaz Mazhar

      This device has much more sensitive sensors and has four of them. It can’t be compared with the average smartphone.

      • Shahid Saleem

        It’s all about tradeoffs. With enough people using the Berkeley app you can get faster warning of earthquakes which for ordinary people is more important than a seismograph. For government, they want accurate numbers on Richter scale.

        • Aizaz Mazhar

          The app maybe sufficient for the average Joe but as I said in the article, this device is not made for the average person.