Earthquakes happen from time to time, and there’s not much we can do to stop them. That obviously isn’t reassuring to hear given the impact that they can have on lives and property. However, thanks to a new development for Android smartphones, we can now better track when earthquakes happen and hopefully defend against them.
A Brand New Feature
A recent update to Android phones means that any device running operating system 5.0 or above can detect seismic activity. It does this automatically and then sends the data to Google, allowing people in the area to be notified of a nearby earthquake. It’s able to do this through the smartphone’s accelerometer, a feature that’s built into the product. Initially, this was only used for things like the compass app, but now, it has a whole new purpose.
It Could Save Lives
This new feature has the potential to help a lot of people take action and avoid coming to any harm during an earthquake. If seismic activity is detected nearby, their phone will come up with a notification alerting them to the fact. It will tell them that the earthquake may impact them soon, giving them time to find cover and wait for the disaster to be over. Although Android phones still won’t be able to predict an event like this before it happens, at least they can help spread the word once the tremors begin.
Rolling Out In California
Unfortunately, not everyone will have access to this notification service right away. It’s only people in California who will initially benefit the most from this new feature. Although Android phones all across the world will be collecting information, people in other states and countries will have to wait a little longer to receive such notifications.
Here’s hoping that the next time an earthquake hits California, lives will be saved because of Android’s intervention.
Bricks Could Soon Become A Source Of Electricity
You’re probably familiar with the concept of using a potato to power a lightbulb. What about a brick, though? We can’t say we’re ever thought about using something like this as a source of energy. However, it’s possible that they could eventually become the battery of the future.
A Reliable Source Of Energy
We have a variety of ways to produce electricity nowadays, from standard power outlets to things like wind power. However, these all have their downsides, with some only able to work correctly in the right conditions. That’s apparently less of an issue for bricks, though, according to Dr. Julio D’Arcy. The scientist believes that this material is capable of working as a reliable battery, and it’s all thanks to its coloring.
Chemistry At Work
Most bricks you encounter are rust-colored, and that’s because of hematite. This is a pigment that can apparently work as an electrode, and when combined with the porosity of bricks, it makes for an excellent source of energy. D’Arcy tested this by using vapors on the material, and the result was the formation of the polymer PEDOT. That, in turn, allowed the brick to become a supercapacitor capable of providing energy whenever needed.
Possibilities For The Future
D’Arcy apparently put his bricks through 10,000 cycles of being charged and discharged, and the outcome was definitely promising. The efficiency was as high as 90%, and it wasn’t impacted by moisture or temperature either. Given how cheap and easy bricks are to come by, that holds a lot of future energy potential. Apparently, the scientist believes that 50 bricks could provide as much as five hours of lighting if charged with solar energy. There’s just the slight downside that he’s only managed to light one LED for five minutes so far.
Although bricks might not be our primary source of electricity anytime soon, it’s good to know they could help us in the future.