Zika virus is still raging on and it doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon, which is why people are thinking up new ways how to fight mosquitoes. And one of these ways is a tool to identify mosquito species, so you know if the insects, that live around you, are a threat to you.
This innovation comes from Stanford University, where students are developing a Shazam for Mosquitoes of sorts. It will be an application for smartphones, that would record the beats of mosquito wings and then use these sounds to identify what type of mosquito it is. On top of that, this type of application would also allow the developers to create a comprehensive map of mosquito distribution, which also could help people avoid mosquitoes, because they would know beforehand, which mosquitoes live in which are of the world.
How can the wind beating of a mosquito can decipher one mosquito species from another? Well, since mosquitoes use their beating wings to attract mates, and one species of mosquitoes mates only with the same species, then each species of mosquitoes have a distinctive sound that their wings make. So therefore these wing sounds can easily be used to tell which species mosquito is near you.
But are our cellphones really able to record the barely noticeable sounds that the wings of a mosquito makes? The answer is yes, because the sounds that mosquito wings make are so distinct, that they can be picked up even by our old flip phones. So your high tech smartphones should have no problem whatsoever to help you avoid mosquitoes. And since all the app will need is less than a half of second of the sound, you won’t even have to go chase after mosquitoes. Just raise your smartphone in the air when you see a mosquito flying by and you are good to go.
Of course there are a couple of problems that this idea will have to overcome, before it can start working. The first problem is that usually mosquito buzzing isn’t the only sound around you, so before this app can launch, the developers have to solve the background noise problem. Then the app should also display information about the particular species of mosquito, whose sound you record, including that if the particular mosquito species carry any diseases. And lastly, many skeptics think, that different environmental factors could also influence the sound that each spices of mosquito make, which could further interfere with the accuracy of the app. So this aspect should be thoroughly researched and solved.
Overall I think this is a wonderful way, how we could better fight against mosquitoes in the future, because we would know, if the mosquitoes around us can potentially infect us with Zika, West Nile virus, Malaria or any other mosquito-borne disease. So let’s hope that this type of app will be available to us sooner rather than later.