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Jawbone UP activity tracker finds a new application – as an earthquake tracker

9to5-image 2014-08-25 at 8.07.36 AM

Activity trackers can be a good way to monitor not only exercise but also sleep patterns – and now Jawbone’s UP device seems to have found a third application, as an earthquake tracker. The above graph shows the moment at which the magnitude 6 earthquake hit Napa, California, at around 3.20am … 

We reviewed UP when it first launched way back in 2011, when we described it as “pretty featured.” It now seems it can claim one extra feature: for all but those in the deepest phase of sleep, you can see the sharp jump where UP wearers were awakened by the quake.

The earthquake, the strongest to hit Northern California in 25 years, was centred six miles southwest of Napa, in the area made famous by its wines. The California Earthquake Authority said that the damage was “fairly significant,” with reports of around 160 people treated for injuries, one of them critical. Thousands of people in and around Napa, Santa Rosa and Sonama were left without power, and a state of emergency has been declared.

Jawbone revamped and relaunched the UP bracelet in 2012, opened up the platform to other health-tracking services last year and last month added new weight-management and food-tracking features to the app.

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  1. Mathew - 9 years ago

    If there were a way to track this anonymously (protecting privacy), a small network of these smart-pedometers would be a great way to collect data on earthquake patterns. #InternetOfThings

  2. Seif Mansour - 9 years ago

    It will work

  3. A sleep tracking device was able to tell when people were awakened by an earthquake? YOU DON’T SAY!!! It’s not like it predicted the quake or anything. I am failing to be impressed by this.

  4. herb02135go - 9 years ago

    I don’t understand the graph. It appears to show people woke up hours before the quake.

    While this is interesting, I think there are too many things that will keep this from being taken seriously.

    • robotmo33 - 9 years ago

      herb02135: The graph’s spike is labeled “3:20 a.m.”, the time of the quake. The higher portion of the graph on the left, which I assume is what you mean by “hours before”, shows times of day people hadn’t yet gone to sleep. The degree of the jump is proportional to how close groups of people were to the quake.

      • herb02135go - 9 years ago

        Thanks for clarifying, robot.

        I like the ability for people to input whether they felt a quake, etc., which the USGS provides.

        But I stand by my comment that being woken up at that time doesn’t indicate a person was woken up by the quake. I imagine some would falsely make the claim. While there could be cause and effect, clearly people often are woken by things other than earthquakes.

      • Tim Dowling (@timdow) - 9 years ago

        herb: But when thousands of people wake up at once in the middle of the night all around California, an earthquake is probably a good bet!


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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