How can you detect seismic waves?

At Sensor Expo 2017, Jacob Hicks, the assistant product manager for Omron Electronic Components’ Sensors unit shows the capabilities of the D7S, a vibration sensor that can detect seismic waves, and Itron’s Riva development board for wireless communications.

Partnering with Itron, Omron’s D7S sits on top of Itron’s Riva board. The D7S contains an ASIC, a voltage regulator and 3-axis microelectromechanical system (MEMS) accelerometer. When a seismic event is detected, items that need to be controlled to prevent extensive damage, such a gas valve, can be automatically shut off and avoid secondary disasters in neighborhoods. In addition, gas main and water main breaks can also be controlled to avoid damage and, for water, prevent unnecessary waste of a precious resource.

In the demo, the data from the D7S is sent to the Itron wireless node that communicates directly with the gas main valve to turn off the gas. In production, the wireless data could be sent to distribution centers where several gas valves could be shut off.

Omron calls the D7S the “world’s smallest class size seismic sensor.”  The sensor has a shutoff output terminal that operates similar to a conventional mechanical vibration sensor and ensures compatibility with mechanical vibration sensors. In addition, the sensor has an I2C interface that communicates the earthquake-related information from the sensor to external devices.

There are many Riva development and kits available for several different approaches to wireless communications applications. For example, one development kit supports Ethernet, WiFi, and a Skyus 4G cellular modem and allows users to create an RF mesh network right out of the box.

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