Raspberry Shake has two main components:

  1. The main sensor is a geophone. You can think of it as a microphone for Earth vibrations. It is a rugged little Earth motion sensor that has been the standard in the oil exploration business for decades. As the Earth’s tectonic plates move about, as volcanoes erupt, as we inject fluids into the land around us (fracking) and as we build more high-rise buildings, the Earth’s brittle crust cracks and creaks. The geophone is an exquisitely sensitive sensor about the size of your thumb and has been finely tuned to accurately measure even the smallest disturbances.
  2. The amplifier, digitizer and ARM processor. These things work in unison so that you can see the Earth’s motion continuously and in real-time on your computer screen.

How it all comes together: As the geophone captures the vibrations of the Earth, these vibrations are then amplified with ultra-quiet state-of-the-art Op Amps. Once amplified, the analog signal is digitized, the data is shipped to the ARM processor and bundled into one-second packets that are sent to your Raspberry Pi computer. The Raspberry Pi timestamps the data and stores it in a seismic industry standard data format (called miniSEED).

There are soooo many cool things you can do with your Raspberry Shake, for the novice and for the more advanced user.

For the novice, as soon as you are set up, you can start watching the Earth move and see if you can identify any patterns with local factors. These may include seeing spikes as your neighbor’s head out to work, traffic, construction and, of course, tremors and earthquakes or even volcanic eruptions!
For the advanced user, there are tons of things you can jump into, from building your own enclosure to using / creating interpretation software to better understand what is happening around you – Whether it is to analyze tremors and earthquakes, or construction work, your washing machine’s spin cycles, local shale frak-ing and deep-well injection activities (hello Oklahoma!) and even football (soccer) games!

It’s fun to make, fun to program, and fun to watch the Earth moooove!!