MozTrack for Mosquito Larvae

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This week we had some time with a bucket of mosquito larvae, as you do, and I took a look at possibilities for automated detecting and counting larvae. The idea being to automate water based mosquito ovitrap larvae counting.

Check out this you tube video

Preliminary indications were that this technique would work well with a much cheaper hardware setup compare to tracking adult mosquitoes. More soon

Rob Walker

 

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Shoebox Memories

shoebox Memories

Today our local family business spin off kicks off with an idea to help local communities preserve and restore memories from old shoeboxs’ full of photographs many that haven’t seen the light of day in decades.

Sadly, recently my Mother passed away and in the aftermath we found boxes of old photos. I took it upon myself to restore and preserve them digitally for future generations. The really sad thing was that as no one had seen the photos in such a long time we couldn’t name all our relatives or the places we saw in the photos. If only we had asked my mother…

Using the techniques I used to restore our photos I thought I’d bring this to our local community, essentially just covering my costs, hopefully bringing the photos to light before they are forgotten.

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Find this project at our web site Elektropets where I hope we can bring families, communities and technology together.

Rob Walker

WesTechAlliance

 

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What Is MozTrack?

Thought I’d introduce our MozTrack innovation to you as I intend to blog about its progress and would love feedback from the community.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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MozTrack Prototype

 

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Mosquito Trap

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.

Rob Walker

WesTechAlliance

 

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The Crazy, the Wacky and the Impossible Ideas You Shouldn’t Dismiss – Post 1

And some of them we even dreamed up at WesTech. Spread over a few blogs I will chat about each of them in no particular order unless requested, starting with embedded eye technology.

  1. Embedding Technology with the Human Eye and Contact lenses
  2. Automated mosquito detection and destruction
  3. Hush Mouth – talk on the phone and no one can hear you…
  4. Peer through Skin
  5. Peer into the ground searching for gold
  6. Deformation for dams and civil buildings detected in centimetres in real time
  7. Vacuum cleaner shoes
  8. Dog communication translator
  9. Diamond Glasses
  10. Tracking aircraft landings at remote airports

 

Embedding Technology with the Human Eye and Contact lenses

Now this could be a biggie one day. The players range from the giants such as Google all the way down to little Start-ups like ourselves.

The use of human eye technology breaks down to two sectors:

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  1. Projection and information displays. The ultimate wearable tech directly on your eyeball?
  2. Health monitoring for instance non-invasive blood glucose measurement, the Holy Grail for diabetics.

Google is a major player in both having invested hundreds of millions of dollars as is Apple, as you would expect.

You can imagine reading your messages from your phone directly in front of you even with your eyes closed! Or watching a giant high resolution TV without any goggles or screens. How about augmented reality? Information on your whereabouts and the world around you projected in front of you overlaying real world objects. It is even possible to enhance your natural vision – see into the ultraviolet or infrared parts of the light spectrum for instance. And cleverly, no batteries, power is harvested in the blink of an eye… actually directly from the blinking of your eye!

The health side of Googles involvement in this tech is handled by its spin-off company Verily Life Sciences however they have pulled back a little on the tech, it’s a pretty difficult technological challenge after all and now there are doubts whether blood glucose can be reliably measured in tears anyway. More info here.

We at WesTech have been working on an alternative glucose measurement technique using the eye but not through a contact lens. There is a technique based on a property of the glucose molecule (chiral) that would allow us to use polarimetric  detection (polarized light) measuring the glucose levels in the eyes  aqueous humour (a transparent watery structure below the lens). We imagine a user would have a device, perhaps a smart watch that they would hold up to the eye for the measurement. It’s very early days but I will keep you posted on our progress.

Rob Walker

WesTech Alliance

 

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Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Rob Walker and I am the founder of The WesTech Alliance, our main web site can be found here. We are a small group of scientists and engineers dedicated to innovation. We provide consulting R&D services to small to medium sized enterprises using the very latest technologies and sciences. We specialise in cross disciplinary solutions to our clients problems.

After years in international corporate R&D I reflected on the many innovations I am proud of but also the many ideas that didn’t fit a corporate brief and never saw the light of day. In 2016 I decided it was time to leave the corporate world and move home to Perth in Western Australia, try my hand at something new.

Along with a friend we set out to change the world one small innovation at a time. Our many ideas have a focus on real world problems. We strongly feel not enough is done in the innovation space to tackle humanities problems and too much focus on the next big thing to make huge profits for just a few.

We chose just one innovative idea to start with: The mosquito problem and that is how one of our first projects: MozTrack was born. Well, also being bitten outside a Perth BBQ one year and thinking as engineers we can fix this…

This blog is really for me to feel free to share our adventures in new and exotic combinations of science, engineering and the humanities. Take the feedback both good and bad and use this to enthuse you the reader and to drive our successes both for our clients and for us, striving to make a better world.

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