14-year-old Chilean teen creates Twitter based early warning system for earthquakes

I don’t know about you but when I was 14 I wasn’t thinking about creating a cutting edge earthquake early warning system that uses Twitter, oh wait, there was no such thing as the Internet when I was 14.

Anyway, a very smart Chilean teenager by the name of Sebastian Alegria has done what even Chile’s government won’t be able to do for another year, he is providing the citizens of Santiago with a way to keep on top of the earthquakes that are known to rock the country.

All it took was a $75 off-the-shelf earthquake detector and bit of hacking around to replace the internal circuit with an Arduino board and then connected that to his server so instead of the detector ringing it now would send out a tweet using is @AlarmaSismos twitterbot.

According to Anna Heim at The Next Web the twitterbot opened up inn May 2011 and now has approximately 29,000 followers; and so far it has correctly detected all th major earthquakes that could be felt in Santiago.

So what is next for this amazing teenager?

For now, he’s very much focused on improving Alarma Sismos. The first step will be to add more sensors across the country to improve accuracy and timing. Sebastian will soon travel to another region to install one similar detector; he was also approached by someone willing to host a third one. With these additions, he hopes that Alarma Sismos will tweet up to one minute in advance of the actual earthquake. This would leave people more time to protect themselves.

Another improvement he’s working on is text messaging: besides tweeting, it would be great if Alarma Sismos could send warnings via SMS. He’s already been talking to Internet-to-text service providers but hasn’t closed a deal yet. So far, sending delays always made it a no-go: the service makes no sense if the text messages aren’t sent immediately. Now that he’s gained media attention, Sebastian hopes to negotiate directly with mobile operators.

via The Next Web

I really wish him the best because he is doing really cool stuff and it bodes well for when he gets older.