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The Doctors highlighted the wildfires out in California and used them as a way to bring awareness to natural disaster and emergency preparedness. About Emily HaydenI graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Journalism. Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic. A handful of startups are developing apps that would quickly broadcast warnings of upcoming quakes to users on their devices.
Dan Kavarian, chief building official for the city of Napa, walks around the downtown area red tagging buildings that were deemed unsafe after a 6.0 earthquake hit the area on Aug. Silicon Valley has made apps that tell people when their Uber ride is approaching, their air conditioning has broken or a thunderstorm is brewing. But since last month’s temblor, more tech companies are trying to solve that problem.
In addition, established giants such as Cisco and Google are pouring resources into Internet-powered alert systems or quake detection technology. The challenges for California are twofold: to build a robust earthquake detection system, and to create devices and apps that receive an alert when a quake strikes and send out warning messages to the public.
About five seconds after the quake strikes, the sensors send a message to a network of computers that geologists, researchers, BART and emergency responders have access to.

ShakeAlert, which started in 2012, has the earthquake detection piece of the puzzle, but not the devices and apps to deliver it to the public. Indeed, the technology needed to send out alert messages using real-time data is relatively simple and has been around for years — think of the Amber Alert messages sent to mobile phones when a child goes missing. A company could even add an earthquake warning system to the connected alarm systems, door locks, water meters or air conditioners they already are selling — and add the earthquake detection piece as well. But the best quake detection technology remains the system set up by the USGS, and it is in talks with more tech companies to give them access to the once-proprietary real-time data from its earthquake sensors — the same data that the ShakeAlert system uses.
Right now, Google is the only tech company with an agreement to access the program’s earthquake data feed. Yet despite being home to the most devastating earthquakes in the country, the region does not have a high-tech earthquake alert system for the public. A handful of startups are developing apps that would quickly broadcast warnings of upcoming quakes to users on their smartphones, tablets or other gadgets.
Other companies are taking unusual approaches to detect quakes; for example, a high-tech lock startup thinks the sensors it has on door locks could give an early warning of a temblor. Project developers say they want to build a system that would send alerts to smartphones, tablets, TVs and Internet-connected cars, yet the project has an $80 million shortfall and no dedicated public money.
First, tech experts say, is the booming Internet of Things business, which includes Web-connected home devices such as Nest, the smart thermostat owned by Google.

San Francisco startup Lockitron, which makes door locks that users can open with their smartphone, is creating knock-vibration sensors that will alert a homeowner when someone is knocking at the front door. When the knocking starts at homes near the epicenter, an alert could be sent out and homes farther away could have a bit of time to prepare, he added. They also talked to former American Idol contestant Heather Cox Coe about her brain tumor diagnosis and the surgery that followed.
The system works by detecting so-called P-waves, which move almost imperceptibly through the earth at almost twice the speed of a quake’s destructive S-waves, which shake the ground. Private tech companies may be the only solution to create a high-tech earthquake alert system available to the masses before the next one hits, according to tech experts and geologists. Such devices connect to the Internet and send alerts to your phone or email, in addition to collecting data from your home such as temperature and energy use.
Since the Napa quake, co-founder Cameron Robertson has been exploring ways to use the vibration sensors to detect quakes and send alerts to customers. It wasn’t an early warning, because the app connects to the USGS website that publishes earthquake activity at about a two-minute delay.

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