Two marketing agencies have co-designed The Mosquito Killer Billboard, an open-source project intended to attract and kill Zika virus-carrying Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes in Brazil. Spraying a lactic acid solution into the air, the billboard panel reproduces the odour of human sweat, while an accompanying output of CO2 effectively mimics the human body's respiratory system, which draws in the killer mosquitoes .
To further sucker-in the Aedes mosquitoes – on average hovering four feet above the ground – the billboard's creators included a pair of fluorescent light tubes at the top and base of the board itself, enticing the insects into its lower catch mechanism. Once trapped between the panels, the mosquitoes remain stuck inside, doomed to perish from dehydration.
Its creators, Posterscope and Brazilian advertising agency NBS, claim the resulting concoction of substances from their Zika-fighting creation is capable of attracting a mosquito from a distance of up to 2.5 miles.
You can see the high-tech billboard in action in the below video, which also features Dr Edimilson Migowski – an expert in infectious diseases and professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – discussing the threat of the insect also commonly referred to as the yellow fever mosquito.
The Killer Billboard is a further attempt to quell the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil, which began in May 2015 before being recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global public health emergency after spreading to other countries across Central and South America.
Zika virus infections are notoriously difficult to diagnose, with only one in five infected people showing signs symptomatic of the disease. Especially dangerous to expecting mothers, the Zika virus has recently been confirmed to cause microcephaly in newborn babies by US health officials. The otherwise rare neurological condition can result in babies being born with smaller heads and undeveloped brains.
In tropical climates Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes have also been known to spread Dengue fever, a viral infection that manifests as a severe and potentially fatal flu-like illness. Scientists in Malaysia recently developed an LED street lamp that functions in an almost identical manner to the Mosquito Killer Billboard.
As an open-source project, the technology and design of the billboard have been created with the intention of global reproduction, with anyone able to download the technical blueprints from the Creative Commons website.