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IARPA-Backed Project Aims to Identify Potential Disease Outbreaks Via LED-Based Bug Trap

A team of scientists has started to develop a system that aims to identify mosquito-borne viruses and other pathogens as well as determine potential disease outbreaks through a project funded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, New Republic reported Dec. 20.

Eamonn Keogh, a computer science and engineering professor at the University of California in Riverside, and fellow researchers convened at Microsoft’s headquarters to create a bug trap that works to attract mosquitoes through emission of signals under the IARPA-backed Project Premonition, Cynthia Graber writes.

The LED-based bug trap has 60 compartments, sensors that work to identify the mosquitoes and other insects through a series of calculations and a trapdoor that closes once it identifies the right species.

“It takes the insects about one-twentieth of a second to fly past the LED beam,” Keogh said.

“And at the end of the one-twentieth of a second, we already know what it is.”

Project Premonition also involves the use of a drone that collects and brings the bug trap to a mother ship for analysis of disease markers, Graber reports.

Keogh and other scientists expect the bug trap system to be operational in the next five years, according to New Republic.


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