The Problem

How might we lessen the nuisance factor imposed by urban and invading mosquito populations?

By creating a viable deterrent for mosquitoes which is both environmentally friendly and less of a nuisance for an individual who is subject to mosquito attacks.

The Idea

Through further research and testing, we aim to:

• Disrupt Aedes aegypti communications using sound vibration.

• Interfere with male copulation by mimicking a female’s flight tone.

• Confuse/Disrupt Aedes aegypti by relaying ultrasonic and/or infrasonic frequency.

How can we achieve this?

There are two main components of this proposal: A deterrent model and a trap model.

Depending on the most effective model, we aim to utilize all funding toward understanding and manipulating the patterns in which mosquitoes use to congregate around a host.

We aim to achieve this by:

1) Building a simple and free to use mobile application which will run in the background of most smartphones and will generate a constant frequency that is capable of acting as a deterrent without psychologically disturbing the user.

2) Mimicking female flight tones in an attempt to lure males toward the direction of sound. This trap could then be used to catch large quantities of mosquito either for termination, or later release, depending on the environmental needs of the area.

Research Plan

Our research aims to learn more about how sound affects mosquitoes. It seeks to create a deterrent that will go unnoticed by its user, and as such, will seek as a non-pesticide alternative to mosquito attacks by placing traps in high risk areas.

Development

Upon acquiring a selection of mosquitoes from various wetland areas around Newcastle; along with a reasonably small group of mammal test subjects; we will undergo a process similar to that previously done in the research paper for Acta Tropica: “The electronic song “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” reduces host attack and mating success in the dengue vector Aedes aegypti”.

By situating a number of differently quarantined habitats for the test subjects to naturally interact with, we will experiment with communicating with the subjects. Through these tests we wish to find:

• At what frequency range will influence the interactions of mosquitoes from its host?

• At what volume would this effect wear off?

• Which frequencies change the behaviour of the mosquitoes?

• Which tones and artefacts manipulate flight paths?

Implementation

If the first model is successful, then an application development process will be sought. Should the second, then a device-based trap will be developed subsequently.

Distribution

We hope to target an international market of smartphone users as well as those capable of utilizing the device-based model. Both are intending to be cheap and easily accessible for the end user.

Technology & Research

The technology involved is capable of generating a qualitative analysis of mosquito behaviour and as such we are testing for feasibility using an array of testing techniques.

Our research will be represented using appropriate audio technologies as a tool that is expected to: capture, design, emit and interpret our findings through various sound design techniques.

For application development, we intend to collaborate with students from programming backgrounds to assist in the writing of Java code, debugging and running our audio as a program.

Experimenting with these ideas

At what frequency range will influence the interactions of mosquitoes from its host?

The main ideas of this question hope to see, if at all, certain frequencies can change the behaviour of the mosquitoes and how they interact with the host.

At what volume would this effect wear off?

We are interested to see, should our initial question deem results, how the effect will change over time. Including what dynamic range it begins to wear off and/or become less noticeable.

Which frequencies change the behaviour of the mosquitoes?

By testing a wide range, both from below the level of human hearing and above that level, we will explore if there is a region of high interactivity between the mosquitoes and their host that is dependent on sound alone.

Which tones and artifacts manipulate flight paths?

By also testing different audio extremes (i.e. heavy distortion, phasing, and ambience) we aim to understand if certain sounds can deter mosquitoes.

Results

If our experimentation is successful, we hope to allocate some of our funding toward immediate implementation of the audio in a user-accessible model that can be easily distributed and interpreted.

Funding & Timeframe

Research and Development = $3000

$1000 allocated to create a habitat that naturally simulates a realistic testing environment.

$2000 for temperature regulation, humidity control, carbon emission and air pressure as well as providing a moist and sustainable environment for the mosquitoes and test subjects to coexist.

Implementation and Distribution = $2000

$2000 will be aimed at generating an application and omnidirectional device.

6 Months

Each phase described in this proposal will be expressed accordingly:

Phase 1 - Research - The first month will be dedicated to researching and compiling a method for experimenting on our ideas.

Phase 2 - Development - The following 3 months will be allocated to test and trial different techniques and implementation practices.

Phase 3 - Implementation - One month after research will be dedicated to generating both the application and device-based model to reach a reasonable standard for the final phase.

Phase 4 - Distribution - The final month will be dedicated to releasing the content of our findings, either in a free or paid model depending on what is most economically appropriate at the time.

Challenges and Wins

Whilst we found issues acquiring appropriate personnel, we have previously experimented with atonal frequencies that can go unnoticed by the user.

Our Approach

We hope to rely on our largely unscientific knowledge of audio to test ideas and methods that are unconventional and interesting in nature with the hope of reaching at least a partial success.

Our reason for taking this approach is due to the largely digital nature of computer technology and the possibility for future emittance of our findings in environments that may be constantly surrounded by audio emitted devices.

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