Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wearable Patch Makes You Invisible To Mosquitos

Mosquitoes track down their blood meals by sniffing out human breath, skin, and sweat. But the main thing they zoom in on is the smell of carbon dioxide, which a mosquito can detect emanating from a prospective meal from hundreds of feet away. The Kite Patch, a small, non-toxic sticker that you place on your clothing, can jam up a mosquito's CO2 radar. The patch's creators say that you'll be effectively invisible to the bloodsuckers for up to 48 hours if you wear one.

As noted in a June 2011 issue of Nature, researchers had identified three groups of chemicals that can disrupt a mosquito's carbon dioxide receptors. The different group of chemicals, each work a little differently to confound its target. The first actually mimics carbon dioxide, and could be used to lure mosquitoes away from their human targets and into insect traps; the second prevents the mosquitoes from detecting carbon dioxide altogether; and the third actually switches the CO2-sensing machinery of the mosquitoes into overdrive, overloading the mosquitoes' senses to the point of confusion.

The team hopes to field test the patch in Uganda, "one of the toughest proving grounds there is".   The team is currently seeking funding on indiegogo.  "With your help, large-scale testing in Uganda will simultaneously provide over 1,000,000 hours of protection during a large field test for families who are suffering from malaria infection rates of over 60% and allow us to optimize Kite before we begin scaling for global distribution".

Read more at io9 and Kite Patch's indiegogo page.

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