- Problem we are seeking to solve
Mosquitos pose a significant health risk to humans and are a source of concern for individuals in developed and developing nations alike. Our team is seeking to produce a low cost, environmentally friendly, semi-autonomous solution to reduce the number of mosquitos around population centres.
- Our big idea!
Our system builds on an existing mosquito control technology utilising a coke bottle with water sugar and yeast to attract, trap and kill mosquitoes. This technology is very simple and has been found to be effective by a number of studies and informal experiments. The yeast produces CO2 which attracts the mosquitoes into the coke bottle. The mosquitoes are then unable to escape and drown. This system is highly effective but requires significant hands-on maintenance for the ingredients to be replaced regularly.
We have designed a system that can work using the same principles, autonomously, for anywhere from 2 months to an entire year depending on rainfall and the size of the reservoir. The system works by water dripping slowly from the reservoir into an off-balanced cup. When the cup fills above a certain level, it tips and activates the rest of the system, emptying the kill box and dispensing the yeast and sugar. Please see the diagram for more detail.
- Describe and illustrate (if possible) your proposed solution.
The Mosquito Automated Attraction And Capture (MAAAC) Device is an automated version of the water/sugar/yeast in a coke bottle contraption. This system would automatically cycle the contents of the “kill box” every 2 days. Allowing for continuous operation of the system for at least 2 months and longer if it is being refilled by rain.
Essentially, the system works by water dripping slowly from the reservoir into an off-balanced cup, when the cup fills above a certain level, it tips and activates the rest of the system, emptying the kill box and dispensing the yeast and sugar.
The components for the “Kill Box” can be altered after testing has taken place to determine the best combination of components to attract and kill the mosquitoes.
- What is the core foundation of your research or solution
There have been a few studies and many informal experiments conducted on the water/sugar/yeast in a coke bottle contraption including this study titled Effectiveness of Environmentally Friendly Mosquito Trap Contained Sugar Yeast Solution - DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.15294/kemas.v11i1.3521 that concluded that the contraption was effective outdoors.
We have also engaged in consultation with mosquito experts to verify some technical aspects of the solution and the University of Newcastle’s Vice-Chancellor Alex Zelinsky to gain a greater understanding of the ethos of the Grand Challenge.
- Describe who you think your end-user and/or paying customer could be.
Our initial target customer will be organisations, households and campuses in developed nations that have a problem dealing with mosquitos, for example, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan campus. Once this technology is refined, we will look to create a low-cost alternative for developing nations. We would also look to test the MAAAC device with our collaborators in Kenya especially in areas that have significant issues with mosquitoes and malaria.
- Describe your Technology Readiness Level or Research Literature Level.
The key technology of attracting and trapping mosquitoes has already been proven and our team includes the required skills to develop this solution.
- Describe the top three critical hypotheses you want to explore, including:
A confined solution of yeast and sugar water will be attractive enough to have an effective radius to justify deployment on a campus such as the University of Newcastle Callaghan. The system will be able to operate, unmaintained for 2 months without rainfall. The Kill Box design will effectively trap and kill the mosquitoes without having a negative impact on the environment. How you will test them; We will conduct tests with a highly simplified version of the “Kill Box” to test the effectiveness of attractant and ability to trap and kill mosquitoes. Mathematical and practical simulations will be run to determine the operational life of the device. Describe your experimental plan, including any new technologies or tools to be developed; and We will start by refining the coke bottle design to test elements that can’t be determined from the videos and descriptions. We will conduct an assessment to determine the effective range of these simplified prototypes by placing them closer together until the net number of mosquitoes decreases, proving that they are both contributing to the same effective area. We will include business modelling into the design phase to determine the most cost effective building technology and materials for the different markets. If your experiment/s in the testing phase is successful what are the next steps?
We will work with the University of Newcastle to roll out a small scale trial program and work to set up similar programs in other target areas. This will help to gauge the market need for the system and test how the system performs in various conditions.
- Describe how you would use the funding to progress your hypotheses, including:
How will the work described be performed within the budget (up to AU$5,000) and time period (6 months) allocated for the testing phase (resources, capability etc)?
The $5,000 will be used to test the hypotheses, complete detailed design and produce a functional prototype. This functional prototype will be used to prove the effectiveness and gauge market demand.
What essential outcomes will you generate during your testing phase?
We are looking to answer these questions: Does the system attract and kill mosquitoes within an effective range? Does the system operate autonomously for 2 months? Is there a market demand for a device such as this?
Include a brief breakdown of allowable costs. “Coke bottle testing” equipment and - $200 Testing of different attractants and components of the device - $400 MVP design and manufacture - $1,500 V1 functional prototype manufacture - $1,450 V2 functional prototype manufacture - $1,450 Total - $5,000
- What you’ve done to date, including challenges and wins.
We have conducted an extensive review of current mosquito control methods and devices to determine what methods are most effective.
Our team have consulted with experts in various fields and 3 Kenyans with experience in mosquito control issues to be able to generate an effective solution.
We have put together a team of diverse individuals including individuals from developing nations to help put together the best solution possible. Daniel Smith - Background in engineering, innovation and entrepreneurship Carlos Riveros - Background in Physics, Engineering, Computer Science, Bioinformatics and entrepreneurship Jesse Gitaka - Physician scientist, infectious diseases, focus on malaria Roger Smith - Laureate professor of endocrinology and background in malaria and stillbirth Moses Obimbo Madadi - Obstetrician and Gynecologist with a focus on HIV and Malaria in Pregnancy, Translational Science scholar
- Why your idea is an unconventional or creative approach to the problem.
While the underlying method has already been proven, the MAAAC device innovates by allowing the system to be autonomous and implemented on a larger scale, using modern enthusiast technologies (3D printing) and recycled materials. This system allows for the control of mosquitoes in an environmentally friendly way on a large scale, we have consulted locally and in a setting with high levels of malaria carrying mosquitoes-Kenya.