Accelerometers and Technology
By Helena Li
An accelerometer is an electronic device that can measure the acceleration forces. The force could be static like gravitational fore; it could be dynamic forces like forces caused by moving, shaking or vibrating. Accelerometers are widely used by different areas. For instance, it could be used in sports like track and field or swimming to determine an athlete’s performance; it can be used to monitor the structure of
buildings; it can be used in vehicles to test the engine and braking systems; it is used in industry to monitor how the equipments, like pump, fans, work.
Accelerometers must be attached to the surface of the object that they are testing, so even the object is having a slightest movement, accelerometers can detect it. They are not going to work if you separate them from the object. As the object is moving, the electric current inside the accelerometers begins to flow and they measure the amount of acceleration by the movement.
The technology I picked is earthquake detection. Apparently, earthquake detection is not a hundred percent mature now, but seismologists and earthquake engineers are working on this. There are different methods being used by scientists now like the VAN method and SeisMac (an application using MacBook to display accelerometer data). Accelerometer is being used in the detection. When the earth is vibrating, it can notice the movement and translate it into digital signals. When people get the signal, they can start to make plans and how to deal with the earthquake, so accelerometers can minimize the risk of damage of the earthquake. Seismologists buried them underground to create data and model earthquake.
If we can predict earthquake accurately, which I am sure we will soon in the future, earthquake detection will have huge social impacts. For example, after Haiti Earthquake, the whole country has to build up again, because the earthquake had ruined Haiti so much. It leads to diseases, lack of commodities, and loss of life and property. If they could get the signal of earthquake before it actually happened, the people of Haiti could be evacuated. Probably more people can survive in the earthquake and aftershocks.
in China Earthquake
For economic impacts, government would save a lot of money if they can get early warnings. If the accelerometer is connected to a system that can protect and secure buildings, then after it detects the earthquake and sends the signal to the system, the protecting system will automatically start to operate. If we can have this kind of system in the future, I am sure the government won’t spend as much money as it does now to
rebuild. As we all know, after the earthquake, debris and waste disposal can be threats to both humans’ health and our environment. If people can be evacuated
earlier, these factors wouldn’t cause people to get sick.
After this research, I learnt more about accelerometers and how do they work in earthquake detection. Accelerometers are considered very important in monitoring earth’s movement. Even though the earthquake detector is not fully developed right now, in my opinion, it will become more advanced in the future and will actually warn people before an earthquake happened.
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