This. Is. Awesome.
Newer models of laptops manufactured by companies like Apple and Lenovo contain accelerometers — motion sensors meant to detect whether the computer has been dropped. If the computer falls, the hard drive will automatically switch off to protect the user’s data.
"As soon as I knew there were these low-cost sensors inside these accelerometers, I thought it would be perfect to use them to network together and actually record earthquakes," geoscientist Elizabeth Cochran of the University of California at Riverside says.
Check out that story. It’s pretty cool. If my computer had that (I have a cheap HP), I would definitely sign up for that. Even though I don’t recall there ever being an earthquake of the size necessary to detect (4.0) in the Albuquerque area.