How a robo-trap zeroes in on Zika mosquitoes

Mosquito trap
Microsoft researcher Ethan Jackson sets up a robotic mosquito trap in Grenada. (Microsoft Photo)

BOSTON – Microsoft’s robotic mosquito trap is so smart it can tell one insect species from another – and that’s good news for scientists fighting the Zika virus, dengue fever and other mosquito-borne maladies.

It can also tell if you’re buzzing an electric toothbrush in its vicinity.

The toothbrush was used to dramatic effect today by Ethan Jackson, a Microsoft researcher from Redmond, Wash.

Jackson heads up Project Premonition, a research effort aimed at giving epidemiologists smarter tools for tracking disease outbreaks. Today he showed how the high-tech trap works at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Boston.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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