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Open source earthquake detection technology used in global initiative

Grillo’s sensors, which are based on low-cost, open source hardware designs, are being used as part of a Clinton Global Initiative earthquake early warning project in Puerto Rico.

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Grillo and its partners will deploy 90 sensors in Puerto Rico
Grillo and its partners will deploy 90 sensors in Puerto Rico

Former US president Bill Clinton has announced a Commitment to Action to provide an early warning system for earthquakes in Puerto Rico, which involves use of sensor technology deployed as part of IBM’s Call for Code initiative.

 

Proposing an Earthquake Early Warning System for Puerto Rico was launched at the Climate Action for Caribbean and Global Resilience event, hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), which runs until 27 May. Speakers include/included John Kerry, US special presidential envoy for climate, and Selwin Hart, special adviser to the United Nations secretary-general and assistant secretary-general of the Climate Action Team.

 

Earthquake sensor technology


In 2021, Grillo, in partnership with IBM, the Resiliency and Business Innovation Programme of the Puerto Rico Science, Research & Technology Trust, and the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, committed to expanding their earthquake sensor technology to Puerto Rico. The Caribbean is a highly seismic region due to its location at the convergence zone between major tectonic plates and communities across the region are frequently impacted by seismic events.

 

In January 2020, southern Puerto Rico was impacted by a series of earthquakes over several weeks that damaged homes and infrastructure and caused displacement. To improve earthquake monitoring on the island, Grillo and its partners will deploy 90 sensors in Puerto Rico which will be hosted by local businesses and supported by local scientists through the Seismic Network. Using the open data from this initiative, the partners intend to use this expansion to build the foundation for an earthquake early warning (EEW) system for the Caribbean region.

 

Grillo’s sensors are based on low-cost, open source hardware designs from the OpenEEW open source community and can rapidly detect ground motion, use algorithms in the cloud to verify that an earthquake is indeed occurring, and then share alerts to people through a mobile application or wearables.

“Earthquake early warning systems have a crucial role in helping to protect our communities so we welcome Grillo’s global expansion with its OpenEEW-based platform”

The project has been deployed through the Call for Code pipeline, with support from IBM, the Linux Foundation, USAID, the Clinton Foundation and Arrow Electronics, among others, and has already gathered over a terabyte of data since 2017.

 

Since contributing its core technology to the open source community in 2020, the OpenEEW created by Grillo enables the developer and citizen science communities to help advance the technology and make Grillo’s footprint global through a number of contributions.

The technology can rapidly detect ground motion. Image: Grillo
The technology can rapidly detect ground motion. Image: Grillo

“Earthquake early warning (EEW) systems have a crucial role in helping to protect our communities so we welcome Grillo’s global expansion with its OpenEEW-based platform through today’s Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action,” said IBM’s Daniel Krook, chief technology officer, Call for Code. “The open source community is helping advance low-cost EEW technology and we are pleased to work with these partners to test it on the ground in Puerto Rico through a Call for Code deployment model.”

 

As a next step, Grillo wants to test historic data and apply new technology, such as the development of a mobile app and its public dashboard for real-time monitoring. In another important step in helping prepare and alert citizens ahead of earthquakes, the company will be hosting deployments in Puerto Rico, leveraging more than 90 sensors located across the island and calling on the open source community to help introduce affordable, community-driven detection solutions to the region.

 

Virtual climate action event

 

The Climate Action for Caribbean and Global Resilience convention continues today and tomorrow with virtual events including Caribbean Preparedness: Forecasts and Solutions for the 2021 Hurricane Season and Beyond; and Tree Planting: A Ground-Up Global Solution to Climate Change and Food Insecurity. It concludes on 27 May with a closing plenary, Girls and Women for Climate Action: A Conversation with Chelsea Clinton. The event is being streamed at www.clintonfoundation.org/caribbean.

 

The Clinton Foundation was establshed on the belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, everyone has a responsibility to act, and society fares better when everyone works together. It works on issues directly or with strategic partners from business, government, and nonprofit sectors to create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement and service. The goal of every effort is to use available resources to get better results faster, at the lowest possible cost.

 

A CGI Commitment to Action is a project, developed and executed by CGI members, that addresses a significant challenge. Each commitment includes a detailed project plan that outlines clear and measurable objectives, a timeline and budget, and key steps required to achieve success.


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