Curbing mosquito menace, the African way

Pranita Roy
Saturday, 18 May 2019

AIT students Sourabh Singh and Nidhi Yadav have developed this device, which can map the type, gender and quantity of mosquitoes in a particular area, helping the health officials to take preventive measures.

PUNE: Inspired by African tribes’ unique way of tackling mosquito-borne diseases, two students of Army Institute of Technology (AIT) have developed a ‘Mosquito detector, alerter and counter’, which can help the government and municipal corporations to prevent larger community from common diseases like malaria and dengue. 

Sourabh Singh and Nidhi Yadav, both second year students of electronic and telecommunication department (E&TC) have developed this device, which can map the type, gender and quantity of mosquitoes in a particular area, helping the health officials to take preventive measures and provide precision delivery of chemicals.

The students have stated that there has been no device, which can detect mosquitoes’ gender on real time. “A secluded tribe in Africa still practices its traditional way of detecting mosquito breed by its body pattern. They receive this education from their ancestors. They take a bowl full of glue and sprinkle animal blood or eggs of birds on it. So when the mosquito smells the blood and sits on the liquid, it gets stuck. After two or three days when the tribe returns to the place, they study the body pattern, species of the mosquito and alert the community for precautionary measures about possible diseases that can cause harm to them,” said Singh.

Speaking about how this methodology is applied in this device, Singh said, “Like humans have a unique fingerprint, mosquitoes have a unique body pattern and sound frequency, which can be captured via a microphone and through which one can identify which breed it belongs to. With the help of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML), it can be predicted easily.” 

The device is cylindrical in shape and has an opening at the top. “A mosquito is attracted by human fragrance and carbon dioxide emitted by human body,” said Yadav. 

“The cylindrical opening, which contains a chemical that has these two properties, can attract mosquitoes. When they sit on it or cross by this device, a suction fan will suck the mosquitoes. And while passing through the suction, ultraviolet rays/ LED inside will scan the mosquito and a microphone attached to it will detect the mosquito sound wave and identify its type,” explained Singh.

This input will be further compared with the database stored in the device, added Yadav. 

The students have established the database from an ongoing research of Stanford University, which has so far developed database of about one lakh types of mosquitoes across the world. 

“With the help of database availed by the Stanford University, we have restored database as per Indian requirement. In India, there are only three types of mosquitoes,” said Yadav.

Yadav further said that this device can be used more effectively by government authorities and municipal corporations. “Generally, the municipal corporation takes action after the area is affected by some disease. But with the help of this device, we can predict the type of diseases much before it has contaminated the area. And accordingly, precautionary measures can be taken,” she said. 

A total of 60-70 devices need to be installed covering various areas and through heat map, can indicate the emergency or urgency in taking action in that particular area, said the students. 

They have been currently working on improving the device by upgrading it. “We are trying to replace the microphone with laser to get better accuracy of the sound frequency. It gathers some disturbance along with the mosquito’s sound now. Laser will also help in recording the mosquito inputs digitally,” said Singh. 

Director of AIT Brig Abhay Bhat (retd) stated that this invention will prove to be a socially extremely useful project. “It can save many lives from mosquito borne diseases,” he said. 

Their project was initially recognised in ‘The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge’ by digital infrastructure provider Tata Communications. They have also won the prestigious ‘Chhaatra Vishwakarma Award’ at National Convention of Vishwakarma Awards held at All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), New Delhi, in 2019.

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