It's the season of sun, swimming, and school holidays, but also the time of year when mosquitoes are at their most active. Are mosquitoes ruining your summer? Are you covered in bites, or are your kids? You are probably desperate for something that actually works, and you may well have concerns about the possible side effects of DEET — the one chemical that seems to keep mosquitoes away effectively.
It would be great if there was a product that could make you and your family members invisible to mosquitoes, without the need to apply nasty chemicals all over your skin. A venture capital group called ieCrowd and scientists at Olfactor Laboratories in California have created something exactly like that.
What Is The Kite Patch?
This innovative bit of technology called a Kite Patch, and it is a small, chemical-emitting sticker that users attach to an item of clothing. The Kite Patch allows the user to be unseen by mosquitoes for up to 48 hours.
The Kite Patch team, which includes public health experts, scientists and designers, has been working on the product for three years now. Their aim was to change the way in which we protect ourselves from mosquitoes and — of course — dangerous mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and the West Nile virus.
You may know mosquitoes as irritating creatures that give you bumps on your skin and make you itchy. In many parts of the world, effective protection against mosquitoes is about much more than avoiding an annoyance. If the patch works as well as the team says it does, the Kite Patch could save lives.
The Kite Patch blocks mosquitoes' sensors, making them unable to find the person wearing the patch and rendering that person invisible. To achieve this, they used food-grade, FDA-approved compounds that are not dangerous to humans — unlike DEET, which is currently the most popular mosquito repellent.
Field Testing In Uganda
What's next? Well, the team's lab tests are complete. You can see videos that demonstrate how effective the Patch is. The hand of a person not using the Patch is full of mozzies on the video, but Kite Patch wearers don't attract mosquitoes at all.
The developers' next step is hopefully to get the Patch to the next stage: manufacture. They are desperate to test-drive the Kite Patch on a large scale in countries that are heavily affected by malaria.
Would you like to try the Kite Patch? You can't, yet. What you can do is send a donation to the makers, and gift Ugandan families some Kite Patches. This field test will finalize the product through user feedback, and will hopefully enable the Kite Patch makers to ensure that the invisibility cloak against mosquitoes will soon appear in a store near you.