Raspberry Shake HAT brings earthquake monitoring to the Raspberry Pi SBC

Raspberry Shake is a family of Raspberry Pi HATs and full seismograph and infrasound monitors designed to enable earthquake monitoring on the popular single board computer

Raspberry Pi Shake and Boom (for acoustic monitoring) HATs have been around for a few years, but I only learned about it now through an article on The MagPi Magazine where Branden Christensen, Business Steward, and Mike Hotchkiss, Marketing Director, were interviewed, so I decided to have a closer look.

Raspberry shake kit to monitor earthquake activity

Four main models of the Raspberry Shake are available:

  • RS1D vertical motion seismograph with a single motion velocity sensor to detect earthquakes
  • RS3D vertical & lateral motion seismograph with one vertical & two lateral motion velocity sensors to measure earthquakes of all magnitudes
  • RS4D “strong motion seismograph with one vertical motion velocity sensor to detect earthquakes, plus one extra vertical and two lateral accelerometer sensors for powerful earthquakes
  • RS&BOOM seismograph & infrasound monitor that combines the RS1D vertical motion seismograph and an RBOOM infrasound monitor to “measure subtle pressure changes from a huge number of sources transmitted through the atmosphere”.

The sensors include one or more geophone sensors, MEMS accelerometers, and optionally an infrasound sensor. The geophone consists of a coil of wire wrapped around a mass and suspended above a fixed magnet with a spring. The sensor’s voltage changes as the mass moves in response to ground motion.

geophone sensor
Geophone Sensor

Each model has then variant as a DIY kit, a fully assembly unit for indoor use, or a weatherproof unit for systems designed to operate outdoors. Shake OS, based on Raspberry Pi OS, must be installed on the Raspberry Pi to support the sensors and process the data in real-time which can be accessed through web tools such as Station View or standard seismological software like the ShakeNet mobile app.

Station View Earthquake monitoring stations
Station View

The MagPi has a tutorial to get started with an RS1D DIY kit. It’s not the first Raspberry Pi-based hardware we cover that can detect earthquake activity, as we previously wrote about the Exo Sense Pi multi-sensor device with an optional Omron D7S vibration sensor and Sfera labs Iono RP D16, but the Raspberry Shake hardware seems to be in a different category (i.e. much better suited to the task…).

If you’d like to give it a try you can purchase the Raspberry Shake from $229.99 for a DIY kit with the RS1D and up to $1,499 for an RS3D system with an IP67 enclosure designed for outdoors. There are some discounts for the education market. You’ll find more details and purchase links on the project’s website.

RS3D outdoor unit with Raspberry Pi 4
RS3D outdoor system


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