Scientists have invented a new smart trap, one that will target harmful mosquitos.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Scientists have invented a new smart trap, one that will target specific mosquitos. Its purpose? To trap the harmful insects and offer data on them. And at the same time, let the friendlier ones fly on.
In a world of smart technology, this new invention should not be that big of a surprise. A team of scientists has developed a smart trap specifically targeted at mosquitos.
This innovation is part of the Microsoft Project Premonition. And Microsoft researchers were also in charge with the development of the smart trap. The team was led by Ethan Jackson.
Details on the project were released last week. They were presented during the AAAS. This is the American Association for the Advancements of Science. Their 2017 meeting took place in Boston in between February 16th to 20th.
The aforementioned lead, Jackson, went to offer details. He stated that the smart trap acts as a sort of “field biologist”. More exactly, it is capable of making choices. As such, it can choose which insect it wants to trap.
This trap, as well as the project as a whole, have a broader goal. They are trying to learn to spot and detect the earliest signs of an airborne outbreak.
These smart traps were designed to catch specific insects. Mostly, they targeted the Aedes aegypti. This species is responsible for carrying and spreading the Zika virus, amongst other diseases.
The mosquito smart trap was put to the test last summer. A pilot test took place in Houston in 2016. According to the researchers, the mosquito species was specifically selected. It was requested by the health officials, as they wanted to track it down.
Test results revealed the following. Microsoft’s smart trap was able to accurately capture just the selected mosquitos. At the same time, they let the friendlier insects carry on flying.
They were also able to gather data on the captured mosquitos. For example, they recorded weather details. They were able to establish in which weather conditions the insects started biting.
And this element was detected and established for several different insect species.
Jackson and his team developed a special insect trap. This consists of 64 “smart cells”. Each such compartment sports an infrared light beam. As an insect crosses the beam, it also activates it.
The shadow of the insect changes the bean’s light intensity. This helps it determine a sort of fingerprint of the flying insect. When the mosquito flies into the cell, this snaps closed or remains open. This depends on the species, and if the trap was programmed to catch it or not.
Trapping mosquitos is a key element in any insect surveillance and control program. This helps health authorities determine the necessary course of action.
This smart trap pilot test took place in Harris County, Texas. It was rolled out in July and August 2016. Test results proved that the traps over 90 percent accurate. As such, they were able to identify correctly most every insect which buzzed through them.
Nonetheless, more tests will be needed. Some are asking for a larger scale one, which could be carried out this summer. It remains to be seen if this request will be granted. As it is, it remains to be seen if the trap will become an actual trapping and surveillance instrument. And if they will actually help improve surveillance.
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