My roommate Laura works in public health. Even though her specialty is on the environment, she's always staying up-to-date on new public health initiatives that are happening around the world. When I got home from work yesterday, she told me that she had been researching new efforts to prevent malaria in developing countries.
One new product might be able to solve heat problems and ward off mosquitoes, she told me. Apparently, LG has recently unveiled an air conditioner that also uses ultrasonic technology to repel the pests. I thought that this was a great idea, since these insects only breed in high heat.
Laura told me that the machine emits a noise that humans can't hear but that is completely unbearable to mosquitoes. I can only imagine how great it would be if this was used to keep mosquitos from coming in and bringing diseases into people's homes.
Of course, malaria is not a problem here, so my window air conditioner does not need to ward off bugs, but if this catches on, people might be able to sleep with their AC on and the windows open, without worrying about nasty insects flying in.
Laura said that the device is supposed to ward of about 65 percent of the pests, so people would continue to be encouraged to sleep under the protection of a mosquito net. Still, it could mean a major reduction in the disease, since Malaria killed more than 600,000 people in Africa alone last year.
I never thought that a potential solution to a world health problem like malaria could come from an air conditioner, but this one might be enough to really change things.