An accelerometer chip used in smartphones and laptops was able to accurately detect ground movements while near the epicenter of earthquakes stronger than magnitude 5, according to a study by scientists in Italy. The technology, with expected improvements, has the potential to help in rescue efforts, they said. "A real-time urban seismic network can drastically reduce casualties in urban areas immediately following a strong earthquake, by quickly distributing information about the distribution and intensity of ground shaking," said seismologist Antonino D'Alessandro.

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