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Using Mobile Phones As Acoustic Sensors For High-Throughput Mosquito Surveillance

By Haripriya Mukundarajan, Felix J H Hol, Erica A Castillo, Cooper Newby, Manu Prakash

Posted 25 Mar 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/120519 (published DOI: 10.7554/eLife.27854)

The direct monitoring of mosquito populations in field settings is a crucial input for shaping appropriate and timely control measures for mosquito-borne diseases. Here, we demonstrate that commercially available mobile phones are a powerful tool for acoustically mapping mosquito species distributions worldwide. We show that even low-cost mobile phones with very basic functionality are capable of sensitively acquiring acoustic data on species-specific mosquito wingbeat sounds, while simultaneously recording the time and location of the human-mosquito encounter. We survey a wide range of medically important mosquito species, to quantitatively demonstrate how acoustic recordings supported by spatio-temporal metadata enable rapid, non-invasive species identification. As proof-of-concept, we carry out field demonstrations where minimally-trained users map local mosquitoes using their personal phones. Thus, we establish a new paradigm for mosquito surveillance that takes advantage of the existing global mobile network infrastructure, to enable continuous and large-scale data acquisition in resource-constrained areas.

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