Friday, 19 October 2018 05:57

Trio of scientists develop method to track fruit flies

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Trio of scientists develop method to track fruit flies Courtesy: RapidAIM

Australian farmers are being helped in their efforts to keep the fruit fly away from their crops by RapidAIM, a real-time monitoring system that detects the presence and location of the flies.

The device can track and predict the movements of the fly — whose scientific name is Drosophila melanogaster — which means that farmers can reduce the degree of manual monitoring.

The RapidAIM system was developed by Dr Nancy Schellhorn, Darren Moore and Laura Jones at CSIRO.

It was tested by some of Australia’s biggest fruit producers in Victoria last year.

The trio have now set up a company to sell their invention to growers around the country. Funding of $1.25 million has been provided from the CSIRO Innovation Fund.

fruitfly

Chief operating officer Laura Jones, chief executive Dr Nancy Schellhorn and chief technology officer Darren Moore, all of RapidAIM, the company set up to market their invention.

On the company site, it was pointed out that globally US$30 billion of fruit and vegetable production was lost and about US$18 billion worth of global trade threatened by the fruit fly.

Under the present system of manual monitoring, millions of traps are checked every 7–14 days.

"In Australia, governments manually maintain and check 12,000 traps year round; the state of California maintains 63,000 traps. Many more fruit fly traps and traps for other pests are maintained by growers for pest management," the company said.

The RapidAIM technology combined the knowledge of insect behaviour with proprietary hardware and software to develop a grid of instrumented, low-powered smart traps.

"The traps detect the presence of an insect, sends the data to the cloud for analytics, and generates an alert for an end user," the company said.

"Imagine having a map in front of you with the location of 1000s of traps providing accurate and trustworthy surveillance. With RapidAIM, the location and occurrence of pest outbreaks can be seen on-demand, supporting rapid and efficient response."

Photo: courtesy RapidAIM.io

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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