LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — UC Berkeley scientists Friday released a new app that can use a smartphone as a mobile seismometer. It’s part of an experiment with which they need your help.

The app is called MyShake, which was created to collect a “new generation of data that we can use to reduce the impact of future earthquakes,” said UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory Director Richard Allen. “We want to use the sensors of your phone to record the impacts of an earthquake.

When an earthquake hits, the sensors on the phone record the degree of the rumbling and GPS coordinates and send the data to a lab. If enough people start doing it, scientists can use all that collected information to work on another app that would send out push notifications during a quake, giving people miles from the epicenter extra time.

“You watch an earthquake as it sort of begins and you try to send notifications to people downstream as quickly as possible,” said seismologist Jennifer Strauss of UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory.

Researchers have high hopes that the app will be useful not only in earthquake-prone regions like Southern California, but in other countries where there are few seismic networks but millions of smartphone users.

A video from the UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory shows how the app works.

The app has been downloaded at least 5,000 times on six continents.

MyShake is only available on Androids right now. Scientists are now working on a version for iPhones.

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