Google Robot factory raises sterile mosquitos, automated device will release a million per week

Debug Fresno is a study in the summer of 2017, pending approval from state and federal regulators, to test a potential mosquito control method using sterile insect technique. The study would be conducted by Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District, MosquitoMate, and Verily, and this video is intended to inform residents of the possible activities of this study.

Verily, the life sciences arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet, will release about 20 million lab-made, bacteria-infected sterile mosquitoes upon Fresno, California.

Verily’s male mosquitoes were infected with the Wolbachia bacteria, which is harmless to humans, but when they mate with and infect their female counterparts, it makes their eggs unable to produce offspring.

Bonus, male mosquitoes don’t bite, so Fresno residents won’t have to worry about itching more than they usually would.

No word from the company on how much something like this will cost, but Linus Upson, an engineer on the team releasing the mosquitoes, told MIT Technology Review the company planned to do something similar in Australia next.

The male mosquitoes will be released over 20 weeks in two neighborhoods of about 300 acres each using an automated device, also built by Verily. Mosquito Mate’s earlier releases of modified mosquitoes were done by hand using plastic containers.

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