Fear of earthquakes got you feeling shaken? The GraGraph home seismograph from Japan's Urushibata Co., Ltd. monitors earthquake activity and lets you know when The Big One - or even a little one - is on its way. One might say that the GraGrapgh is earthquake insurance in gadget form!
The GraGraph home earthquake seismograph is a self-contained, multi-functional gadget that not only alerts you when it detects an earthquake, it records the statistics for future reference. It's powered by an AC adaptor but also has 4 AA batteries as a back-up. At only 5 inches high, the GraGraph can be conveniently placed by your bedside where it also acts as a digital clock and calendar - though not an alarm clock, as that could cause a major freak-out each & every morning. GraGraph also has a small light that turns on in conjunction with the alarm, presumably allowing you to find an exit in the event of a power outage.
Here's how the device works: Upon noting any earthquake with an intensity above 3 (on the Shindo, the Japan Meteorological Agency's seismic intensity scale), the GraGraph sounds its scary alarm (hear it here, black & orange button at upper right) and a firm but friendly female voice addresses you in Japanese. I'm not sure if the message changes depending on the strength of the quake, but if it's a 10 (GraGraph's upper limit), one would assume she says "Sayonara, prepare to meet thy maker".
It's reasonable to wonder just how useful GraGraph is when it comes to earthquake survival. Sure it records smaller earthquakes those living in quake-prone regions such as Japan and California have learned to sleep through, but larger temblors tend to announce themselves, if you catch my drift. Any warning based on the initial small preliminary seismic wave will give you but a few extra seconds - which could mean the difference between life and death.
If anything, GraGraph will raise awareness of earthquakes and educate young scientific types with its recording function. Of course, gadget-lovng geeks will want it anyway for their earthquake emergency kits - and it does come in 4 pleasing colors. (via Japan Trend Shop and Sympatico-MSN)