Stanford researchers create “Shazam” for mosquitoes

Stanford researchers create “Shazam” for mosquitoes

What you’re listening to right
now is a musical tune that’s primarily been produced by
wing beats of different species of mosquitoes, and in this
work what we figured out is you could use these
signatures to practically identify these mosquitoes
in field conditions. You think of Abuzz as
Shazam for mosquitoes. For many mosquito-borne
diseases, there’s no drugs. There’s also no vaccine. So basically the
main thing you can do is try to bring down
the mosquito population and therefore prevent
people from getting sick. But to do that, you need to know
what type of mosquito is where. Every different kind
of mosquito actually makes simply different sound
and what we came up with is a way in which you
can use your phone to record that sound,
and by using that sound and processing it your phone
can actually tell you what type. What species that mosquito was. Pull out your mobile phone when
you see a mosquito around you and identify the microphone,
point it at the mosquito and make a sound recording. Even about a second’s worth
of sound from the mosquito is good enough. Go to and
upload that file on our website and we’ll be able to process
that and return information. We can tell what kind
of mosquito it is and since it’s made on a phone
that automatically registers both the time and the
place of recording as well. All these scientific insights
that you need from the field are very hard to collect by
just a few set of researchers. And by building tools
which could provide large-scale surveillance
for these mosquitoes that specially
carry human diseases like dengue,
chikungunya, malaria. We could enable the
world’s largest network of mosquito
surveillance just purely using tools that almost
everyone around the world now is carrying in their pocket. We made sure that
you can do this with a very broad
range of phones even with decades-old
$10 flip phones. We made sure that we can get
the biggest userbase possible. What I would love to see is
people really thinking hard about the biology of
these complex animals. Engage in the problem. Make your own community safer. If you see a mosquito
and you swat it you saved yourself
an itch for one day. But if you see a mosquito and
you record it and you send the data to the Abuzz
Project, then you’ve potentially contributed
to an effort that can reduce the burden of
mosquito-borne disease for many generations
in the future. For more, please visit
us at

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