Kite Patch


By: Anika Gupta

Everyone hates mosquitoes, but not many people try to develop a better solution to prevent mosquitoes from biting you. Additionally, mosquitoes can give bitten humans life threatening diseases like Malaria, West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever. This team at University of California, Riverside, decided to create a solution for this problem. In 2013 they and Olfactor Laboratories started to prototype the Kite Patch, and with many grants from various companies, they were a able to create a product that would repel mosquitoes.

The bottom of the Kite Patch is made of a sticky adhesive that allows it to affix to clothing. The patch uses non-toxic chemicals to blocks a mosquito’s ability to sense humans. Since mosquitoes’ ability to detect exhaled carbon dioxide is the way they “track” humans, the blend of ingredients within the patch was developed so it could emit a scent that blocks the mosquitoes’ receptors from smelling the carbon dioxide.

Other mosquito repellents, for the most part, contain DEET which is can cause irritation to skin and damage to plastics, acetate,  furniture finishes, leather, and watch crystals, and toxic to birds, fish and aquatic invertebrates. On the other hand, the Kite patch uses FDA-approved non-toxic chemicals that have no effect on the environment or any other objects.

The Kite Patch relates to engineering because it was an scientific innovation that went through the engineering process; the idea was introduced, research was done, and then the product was tested and analyzed. The scientists had to test multiple different chemicals to see which blend best blocked a mosquito’s receptors, and examine mosquitoes to find out about their structure and the function of different part of a mosquito. Already, the developers of the Kite Patch have applied these techniques to spray repellents and shields. In the future, humans might become totally invisible to mosquitoes.