NPR : News

A Patch Designed To Make You Invisible To Mosquitoes

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Previously we've featured the sink-urinal and a better travel neck pillow. (Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.)

A small, square patch that's not yet available in the U.S. is promising to work as a force field against pesky mosquitoes. It's called the Kite Patch, and it's a sticker that emits chemical compounds that essentially make you invisible to the bloodsuckers β€” they block a mosquito's ability to sense humans.

If this is as effective as promised, the Kite Patch could be a game changer in preventing mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria and West Nile virus. It's been developed by a venture capital group called ieCrowd and scientists at Olfactor Laboratories, a research facility in California. Wired notes:

"According to its developers, users simply have to place the patch onto their clothes, and they become invisible to mosquitoes for up to 48 hours. This is big news for developing countries like Uganda, where residents have little beyond mosquito nets and toxic sprays to combat the illness-spreading insects."

The scientists behind the patch are raising money on Indiegogo to do rapid field testing in parts of the world that are more affected by mosquito-borne illnesses. The campaign has already blown way past its original goal, but for $10, you can provide a five-pack of Kite patches to a family in Uganda. For $85, you can send a 100-day supply and get some for yourself. The American backers will be the first to receive Kite patches after the company gains regulatory approval.

"It's a really unique way of doing product development," ieCrowd's Grey Frandsen told Wired. "This technology is too important to just funnel directly to the Walgreens. It needs to be part and parcel of people's daily lives all over the world."

Not everyone finds these disease-spreading irritants so annoying. As our sister blog The Two-Way reported last month, mosquitoes have a type: They prefer heavy breathers "with Type O blood, sporting a red shirt and more than a smattering of skin bacteria. Preferably either pregnant or holding a beer."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Peruvians Love Their Chicha Street Art. The Government ... Not So Much

Walk down a street in Peru and you'll likely see an example of the glow-in-the-dark posters and murals. Lots of people love them. But the upper crust β€” and the government β€” aren't impressed.
NPR

Tea-Infused Sweets: Chocolate + Jasmine Tea Is A Match Made In Heaven

Smoky and floral brews can provide a kick of flavor to desserts, especially when blended with chocolate. Pastry chef Naomi Gallego shows us a few tricks for surprising the palate with tea.
WAMU 88.5

America's First Ladies

They walk a tricky line: closest adviser to the President of the United States and hostess in chief. A new book examines the evolution of the role of first lady of the United States.

WAMU 88.5

E-Cigarettes and Vaping

Last week, the D.C. Council voted to designate e-cigarettes and "similar vapor products containing nicotine" as tobacco products. That means that their sales tax will jump from the regular 5.75% sales tax to the 70% tax that's tacked onto sales of products like cigarettes and cigars. We explore what this means for the evolving public health debate surrounding e-cigarettes.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.