Thought I’d introduce our MozTrack innovation to you as I intend to blog about its progress and would love feedback from the community.
Why we need better surveillance of mosquitoes
MozTrack is a sensor and a service for the automated surveillance of insects of significance to our health, biosecurity and agriculture.
The device can track mosquitoes and other flying insects within a 1 to 6 meter range with a sampling time in seconds. It will process and classify its subjects adding the resultant information such as images, species, abundance, collection time and local weather information to a Cloud database service.
No lures or manual inspection of traps is necessary, the entire device is robust, portable and relatively low in cost. Ongoing research indicates MozTrack may even be able to selectively kill certain insects such as mosquitoes while leaving others unharmed. If so this would be a game changer.
View the You Tube video
The sensor uses high-speed digital cameras, sophisticated image processing software and optical tracking technology. The sensor is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi, Cellular or LoRa and operates using IoT (Internet of Things) protocols.
Further upstream the resultant data is cloud based and accessible via advanced internet API technologies. The information lends itself well to Data Mining techniques and Big Data analysis.
It is envisaged that a cheaper, less robust version of the MozTrack sensor, dedicated to mosquito detection, could be provided to communities, schools and businesses. If deployed in household backyards in metropolitan areas and remote communities this could lead to a huge increase in availability of mosquito species temporal, density and distribution data via the Cloud. Communities get sensors that can monitor mosquitoes around the BBQ, or around the school yard providing early warning alerts. In addition it provides a “feel good” factor contributing to the understanding of one of humanities biggest scourges via home internet connections.
We are in the very early phase of developing the technology but already we have a few sensors on line for testing purposes her in Perth, Western Australia. You can see the live data here although it’s a bit crude at the moment, it’s mainly for our own R&D use but shows the potential.
Imagine if we had sensors at street level around a suburb. Authorities could see with enough resolution in real time where mosquitoes are coming from, perhaps it’s that pesky neighbour who hasn’t cleaned out his swimming pool…
Imagine if we had sensors distributed at a state or national level? We might decide nah, not going down to Albany to see my Uncle John this weekend…
We are currently testing MozTrack against physical traps in collaboration with the WA Dept. of Health to validate our data.
These traps are basically old paint tins with a few holes drilled in the bottom, filled with dry ice. A fan underneath sucks any attracted mosquitoes into a sock below it. We believe this technology urgently needs to be automated and bought into the 21st century.