Health officials and engineers shook hands in an effort to control Zika outbreaks. The way they thought to go about it was to build a smart mosquito trap that would capture only bloodsuckers while releasing other species of insects unnecessary for studying. Hence, the mosquito smart trap was created that can also record the exact weather conditions when different species emerge to feed.
This early into their study, the researchers are yet unsure just how much the smart traps will improve public health in the future. The smart equipment was tested in the field last summer in Houston, Texas. According to the researchers’ notes, the smart mosquito trap accurately made the difference between certain mosquito species – harmless ones, and those capable of carrying and spreading the Zika virus to other hosts through their bite, or a wide range of other mosquito-borne diseases.
Ethan Jackson, Microsoft lead researcher, talked about a prototype that had been displayed previously at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston.
“The smart mosquito trap acts like a field biologist in real time that’s making choices about the insects it wants to capture”, said Ethan Jackson.
He added that the mosquito smart traps are actually part of a broader Microsoft project dubbed Project Premonition, aimed at learning how to spot early signs of outbreaks.
While most already seem convinced the mosquito smart traps will open the road to a Zika-free society sometime in the future, others still abstain from jumping the gun. University of Florida’s Jonathan Day, who is also involved with the projects, says more testing will be needed in the future to say for sure just how well the smart traps will work in the future, keeping humanity safe from the Zika virus.
Scientists say that mosquito trapping is actually a technique of great importance that helps researchers surveil and control the mosquito population so health officials know when the time comes to take certain measure to fight mosquito-borne diseases.
While trapping in itself hasn’t changed much over the course of the years, improving the technique will only ease the researchers’ job of keeping a close eye on the bloodsuckers. Last year, the smart trap yielded great results. Preliminary tests in July and August 2016, in Harris County, Texas, showed the mosquito trap was more than 90 percent effective. Further tests will be conducted this summer, as well.
Image Source: Youtube