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The anti-locust ‘rockets’ are designed to be dropped from drones into inaccessible areas | Photo source

Disrupting locust swarms with sound

Agriculture & Energy

Innovators in Jordan have developed a device that uses high frequency sound to disrupt locust swarms and prevent food loss


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Spotted: The desert locust, which is found in various parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world. When locusts swarm, they can destroy crops, pasture, and fodder over a large area. A small swarm can consume the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people, while a large swarm can eat food that could feed 81 million people.

Locust swarms are a serious threat to food security in Horn of Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, which is why a group of innovators at the Amman, Jordan FabLab decided to work on a solution. The group submitted designs for a prototype as part of an application for a funding award from the Orange Foundation. The project uses high-frequency audio to disrupt and disperse the swarms.

The team developed a small, 3D-printed rocket-shaped device, designed to be released from a drone. This system was chosen because the desert areas where swarms form are often difficult to access by land. Once released, the nose of the rocket embeds in the ground and a speaker plays high frequency audio. The team plan to use any funding they receive to further refine the design and add solar power.

In 2014, the Orange Foundation launched a number of digital education programmes to focus on young people in need. The FabLab movement offered a natural alignment with this goal and the Foundation established the concept of the Solidarity FabLab to help young people develop professional and technical skills. All of the people working on the anti-locust rocket are part of this programme.

A number of innovators are working to help farmers in regions where farmers cannot afford high-tech crop management systems. Springwise has covered a number of these developments, including a desalination system that can be adapted to off-grid use and the use of non-toxic emulsions to control fungi and bacteria and enhance crop growth. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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