A new smartphone comes equipped with an ultrasound device that may repel harmful mosquitoes.
Malaria, dengue fever, and other mosquito-borne diseases are a serious problem in many areas of the world, with the World Health Organization estimating around 214 million cases of malaria in 2015. The best way to avoid mosquito-borne illness is to avoid mosquitoes – but this is not easy, especially in countries such as India, where the insects are prevalent. According to a study by Euromonitor International, consumers in India spend around USD 733 million per year on home insecticides. Recent attempts to come up with novel ways to repel or kill mosquitoes have included an insecticide sprayed automatically from the back of motorbikes and a wearable patch that makes humans invisible to the insects.
Now, mobile company LG has decided to combine the market for insect repellents with the market for smartphones by releasing a smartphone that can also act as a mosquito repellent. The new smartphone, the LG K7i, comes equipped with technology that emits ultrasonic waves from a mesh grid on the back of the phone. The ‘mosquito-away’ technology has already been used in other LG products, such as air conditioners and TVs. The ultrasonic waves are designed to imitate the frequency range of mosquito predators such as bats or dragonflies.
While LG claims that its own survey, certified by India’s International Institute of Biotechnology and Toxicology, demonstrated that the sonic tech was effective in repelling around 72 percent of mosquitoes, other experts are not so sure. The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) and many entomologists say that ultrasonic sound is not an effective repellent. Despite the competing claims of effectiveness, LG is considering rolling the phone out in other mosquito-plagued markets. What other type of features might mobile companies offer in a crowded smartphone market?