Your cell can ID a mosquito!

You may soon be able to identify a mosquito by the sound it makes, thanks to a cellphone app. Each species or kind of mosquito makes a unique sound when it beats its wings, and this is enough to make out if it’s an Aedes mosquito or a Culex mosquito or any other kind. This information is useful as mosquitoes are responsible for spreading a lot of diseases.

Students from Stanford University in the United States (US) have created this app. The students found that common cellphones, even old models, could accurately record the wing beats of mosquitoes and since each wing beat is unique, a computer programme inside the app could identify the species. The app is able to work even if the recording also includes other noises like conversation or traffic.

Mosquitoes like Aedes cause diseases like Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya while the Culex causes the West Nile virus to spread. While the app won’t be able to tell if the mosquito is carrying the disease, the presence of certain species may alert people to take precautions against getting bitten.

What’s an app?

Smartphone with cloud of application icons

An app is a computer programme built for devices like smartphones and tablets. There are apps for gaming, learning and sharing information. These are hosted on the Internet and can be downloaded by cellphone users.