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Andres Meira's Grillos to Save Life from Earthquake

Online Desk | September 20, 2014
Andres Meira with a Grillo

Andres Meira with a Grillo

Mexico City has been experiencing an unusually large number of tremors within the past few months, and though the country has one of the most advanced seismic alert systems in the world, many residents are unable to receive notifications before tremors occur.

Mexican regulations limit the sale of government-issued earthquake alert receivers to one private company, but since the receivers cost an average of $310, most families are unable to afford them. Andres Meira, a 39-year-old architect, has designed an earthquake alert receiver, which costs only $54 at retail, which taps into the government's earthquake alert frequency to notify its users of a pending earthquake.

Mexico City's seismic alert system introduced in 1991, now has over 100 sensor stations along the Pacific Coast, where most earthquakes occur. The sensors send signals to radio towers that issue the alerts on a special frequency. Over 100,000 receivers - distributed in schools, hospitals, radio stations, subway stations, and other key facilities - receive the special frequency and blurt out, "Seismic alert! Seismic alert!" whenever a magnitude 6 or greater earthquake is detected. Residents not in close proximity to one of the designated facilities, however, have no way of knowing when an earthquake is approaching. Disaster experts are concerned that not enough has been done to ensure the greatest number of residents receive the alerts.

Andres Meira, a 39-year-old architect, has designed an earthquake alert receiver, which costs only $54 at retail, which taps into the government's earthquake alert frequency to notify its users of a pending earthquake. Meira believes that the government failed to plan how to send earthquake alerts to the broadest number of people, which is why his product, named Grillo - Spanish for cricket - has a space in the marketplace. The battery or electric operated receiver is stored in a small square box with a cricket logo stamped on it and an antenna projecting from the top. When a seismic alert is detected, a siren wails and flashing lights go off.

শিক্ষা সংক্রান্ত খবরাখবর নিয়মিত পেতে রেজিস্ট্রেশন করুন অথবা Log In করুন।

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Mexico City's twenty million or so residents have been dealing with a large number of earthquakes this year, the strongest of which was a 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Good Friday, 18 April. "Some seismologists are worried about this, thinking it could be a prelude to a larger quake," said Juan Manuel Espinosa Aranda, director of the Center for Instrumentation and Seismic Registry, which designed and operates the early warning system of sensors.

With Meira's invention, more families will be able to respond proactively to earthquakes, but as Arturo Iglesias Mendoza, director of the Institute of Geophysics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, explained that residents of Mexico City still have to be educated on how to respond in the case of an earthquake. Only a vast program of continuous civic education can teach them that, he said.

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