Ithaca, NY, US
Anna Gannett, Joey Sun, Paulina Villacreces
This Cornell University team created the UPod, a mosquito-control device inspired by the mechanism of the carnivorous Utricularia vulgaris plant. Higher average temperatures and increased precipitation events due to climate change are contributing to the expanding threat of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, malaria, and chikungunya. Current mosquito-control strategies can be harmful to people and the environment, so this team developed the UPod to be an environmentally friendly, self-sustaining, reusable and affordable solution. Similar to how the Utricularia vulgaris plant traps prey, the UPod is a solar-powered device that pulls water and larvae into a tightly-sealed water chamber by means of a trap door that functions through a smart sensor mechanism. Larvae are suffocated in the water chamber, and then pumped out as new water and larvae are pulled in. UPod can help individuals, communities and nations take control of larvae populations and prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.