How A Wearable Patch Could Help Prevent Mosquito Bites

(photo credit: iStockphoto)

By Brian Honigman

Many have experienced the annoying itch of a mosquito bite from time spent outdoors, but few have been able to find relief from this problem since repellents are often ineffective, clumsy or potentially toxic.

Kite, a new wearable patch, may be the solution to the fight against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases.

A team of scientists developed Kite to block the way mosquitoes track humans through the CO2 we release as we breathe.

The patch, which works for up to 48 hours, doesn’t use the harmful chemicals used in traditional bug repellents, yet it practically makes a person invisible to pesky mosquitoes.

Why “Kite”?

Kite’s name and final form as a sticker to place on clothing was an important process for the future success of the product.

“We wanted [a name] that was universal, that people could understand in different languages and cultures. Almost every culture has their own kite,” said Torrey Tayenaka, creative lead at Kite. “We kind of imagine that our Kite patch can be a similar symbol across all cultures and nations … they are all there to protect.”

When developing the patch, the team was intent on it being kid-friendly to ensure that everyone could connect with the product, use it and reap the benefits of avoiding mosquitoes.

We were thinking of “the image of a kite following you around, it kind of overlooks you and the fact that it is a protective thing,” Tayenaka said.

Creating a Sustainable Future For All

The team’s mantra is to Do Well and Do Good, which is why the first proving ground and testing of the product outside the lab will take place in Uganda over the next six months.

A major focus of this mosquito-fighting solution is to make sure the patch is easy and useful for those that can afford it in America and Europe, while ensuring that it is biodegradable and sustainable for delivery to people who can’t afford it in developing countries, said Tayenaka.

“We really wanted to make sure that our technology could reach the masses,” Tayenaka added. “We hope to make a huge impact on mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever and West Nile virus.”


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