Suitable Systems

SeisMac is a free Mac OS X application that turns MacBook or MacBook Pro laptops into seismographs. It uses the Sudden Motion Sensor (accelerometer) that these machines are equipped with to create and display real-time, three-axis acceleration graphs (seismograms). The resizable, real-time scrolling display lets students see the seismic waves from tapping their toes on the floor, lay the laptop on their chests to see their heartbeats, or see seismic waves from real earthquakes. The software allows users to pause the display to study an event; scroll back in time to see older data; enlarge or contract the graph, both vertically and horizontally; and copy, print or save the screen. Time labels tell exactly when an event occurred, the sampling rate can be adjusted, and acceleration data can be smoothed. The site features a link to download the software and a link to help files for installing and using it.

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Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12), Middle (6-8)
Topics: Chemistry/Physics/Mathematics