Seismometable is a piece of domestic furniture controlled by an RSS feed that communicates when, where and how strong any given earthquake is in the world. The table listens for this data and shakes accordingly in real time. But what do you do when the table shakes? Do you turn on the television for a news update? Donate money? Do you ignore it?
Embedded within the table is an internal mechanism consisting of a Raspberry Pi device connected to a motor and two counterweights. Seismometable uses a pre-existing network of inputs from the US Geological Survey’s (USGS) Earthquake Hazards global database. The device scans the USGS data through a wireless connection every 30 seconds for the latest updates of seismic activity around the world. The device relays this data to the motor and counterweights that consequently spin to produce a randomised shaking effect. The device is programmed to respond to both the Richter value associated with an earthquake, as well as its duration; the greater the recorded seismic activity, the greater the intensity of the table tremors.
The residual effects of natural disasters can impact on everyday life, even thousands of kilometres away from the event. This could mean market volatility arising from supply chain disruptions at the larger end of the scale, down to personal, more individual loss. Seismometable’s physical representation of natural disaster reminds us of the seemingly intangible connection we have to these traumas. It also forces us to reflect upon a larger question: while the benefits of instant access, open source data in our hyperconnected lives are many and obvious; how do we process it?