Innovation That Matters

The Solar Scare Mosquito could help to kill mosquitos that carry disease, as well as collect data on species and sex | Photo source Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

Solar-powered device stops mosquito-spread at its source

Health & Wellbeing

Nymphea Labs hopes to stop the spread of disease-carrying mosquitoes by disturbing the water in which they breed

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Spotted: In tropical regions, mosquitos are more than a nuisance, they are a major carrier of deadly disease. Infected Anopheles mosquitoes can spread dangerous diseases like malaria, West Nile, Zika, dengue fever, and Chikungunya. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 409,000 people died in 2019 from malaria alone, with children under five the most susceptible. Now, Paris-based startup Nymphea Labs has developed the Solar Scare Mosquito 2.0, a device that aims to kill mosquito larvae.

Nymphae’s device works by disturbing the surface of stagnant water where mosquitoes breed. Mosquito larvae need calm water to grow, and the disruption kills the larvae before they can mature. The device is powered by a small, 3W solar panel and controlled by an Arduino board. The housing for the device is 3D-printed. 

The Solar Scare is programmed not to disturb the water during dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes lay their eggs, to ensure they are still laid. The device then creates ripples in the water to kill the newly-laid eggs. This prevents the mosquitos from sensing the moving water and simply going somewhere else to breed.

The current 2.0 version of the Solar Scare is an improvement on an earlier version, and includes sensors that can detect water levels and sound. The sound sensor can be used to capture the frequency of the mosquitoes’  wingbeats, to determine their species and sex. The company told Springwise that the device also uses, “an IoT and Cloud-based platform to integrate entomological data with existing environmental and epidemiological data to predict outbreaks.”

The coronavirus pandemic has captured the world’s attention over the last year, and it is easy to forget that scientists and epidemiologists are also busy combatting the many other deadly diseases out there. However, it is likely that some of the technology developed to combat COVID-19 could possibly also be used to control other diseases. Innovations Springwise has recently covered include the use of sewage epidemiology to predict and track outbreaks, and a device that can test for disease using breath.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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