16 May 2014

Solar Scare Mosquito

Every year, over a million people are killed by malaria. The only solution to this problem is to destroy mosquito breeding grounds and curb the problem at source. As mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, I concluded that surface aeration would be one of the best means of eliminating breeding grounds.

So I built a device that generates air bubbles at regular intervals and effectively produces ripples up to a radius of 2 meters (sufficient for most urban water bodies). The device automatically switches on when it comes in contact with water an alarm alerts if the water body dries up or someone tries to remove the device from water. At less than $10, the device is cost effective and being solar powered, it is energy independent and maintenance-free.

Here is my Youtube project presentation: Solar Scare Mosquito

Note: You will have to see this video to fully understand and appreciate the project. 

You can also check out the Step-by-Step Instructables of this project on: Step-by-Step Instructables.

Hypothesis

More than half the world's population is vulnerable to vector-borne diseases. These diseases, namely malaria, largely affect children and poor people and there is no
promising solution to eradicate it.

Question: So how can we control malaria using technology?

As mosquitoes transmit malaria and water stagnation is the primary cause of mosquito-breeding, by preventing water stagnation, it should be possible to curb malaria.

Hypothesis: By devising a surface aeration system for small water bodies, it should be possible to control mosquito breeding.

Building the device



The device comprises of the following parts:

Bubble aeration
Of the various aeration methods, I chose bubble aeration to create surface turbulence and I used a portable aquarium pump as a bubble generator.

Solar Power
As the aerator needs to run perpetually, it is not practical to make it battery-powered. Thus I made it solar-powered.

Timer
The air-pump is also timer-based and runs at intervals of 10 minutes to increase its life.

Automatic Start
As in the case of floodwater, rainwater, roadwork and construction sites, no arrangements are made to treat such temporary water bodies that are potential breeding
grounds.

Get your hands dirty


This is the best part of the project...building the circuit! It takes no time to build this circuit which could potentially save you from those nasty mosquito bites. So get tinkering!

Electronic Parts:
  1. 6V 450mA Solar Cell
  2. Portable aquarium aerator
  3. 2 x AA Rechargeable Batteries
  4. Piezo Buzzer
  5. Perfboard
  6. 555 Timer
  7. 3 x 2N3904 NPN Transistors
  8. BD135 NPN Transistor
  9. Heat sink
  10. Capacitors - 470 uF, 0.1 uF
  11. Resistors - 220 ohms, 470 ohms, 2 x 10 k, 100k, 1M.
  12. Indicator LED
  13. Toggle switch
  14. Jumpers


Other materials:
  1. Casing
  2. 3 x 2" Stainless Steel bolts (that will serve as water probes)
  3. PVC pipe and fittings
  4. Miscellaneous tools

Observation, Experimentation and Results


To test the device, I installed it in a small pond where rainwater had recently collected. I waited until mosquito larvae began appearing in the pool to ensure that the pool was suitable for mosquito breeding. About three days after the larvae were born, I installed the aerator in the pond and observed the larval population in the pond. The results of the experiment are tabulated in the image above (I did not provide photos of the experiment as the larval population in the pond was not visible in the photos).

The experiment shows that while the aerator was not sufficiently powerful to suffocate and kill the full-grown larvae, within two hours it wiped out the majority of the young larval population and ensured a mosquito-free water body thereafter.


A Mosquito-free Tomorrow

My observations have shown that, by preventing water stagnation by means of aeration, it is possible to control mosquito breeding and thereby control the proliferation of malaria.

The aeration device that I have built costs less than $ 10. Considering that every year, the global medical expenditure on malaria control amounts to over US$ 6 billion, ubiquitously installing this device in villages and cities would cost only a fraction of that amount.

I hope that, one day this cost effective and sustainable device will save the world valuable money and priceless lives.
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