Microsoft helps tackle spread of mosquito-borne diseases

Washington, June 24 (IANS) Technology giant Microsoft recently launched a prototype trap for detecting mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue and Zika, says a report.

The prototype trap is being developed as part of the Microsoft’s Project Premonition — a novel autonomous system for monitoring, detecting and preventing emerging infectious disease outbreaks and marks the company’s biggest innovation in trap technologies.

The trap includes a custom-built mosquito trap that allows entomologists collect faster and more efficient data to do their observation and prevention work, said an official statement.

Designed only to collect information on the type of mosquito that an entomologist wants to track, the trap also provides insights on the time, temperature, wind and humidity, when the mosquito flew into the trap.

It also employs machine-learning algorithms that help scientists differentiate between the mosquitoes they want to trap and the bugs they don’t.

The trap functions on two small, battery-powered microprocessors, which gathers data that can then be wirelessly downloaded and sent to the cloud, the statement said.

Mosquitoes are infecting over 300 million people every year with life threatening diseases, according to a World Health Organisation report.

The traps, which are in the pilot phase, are being tested in real-world environments, assisting local public health officials and continually sending data back to Microsoft researchers and collaborators to further refine the system, the statement noted.

–IANS

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