Cyborg - lightweight portable electroantennogram (EAG) by Scion
inFact have developed in collaboration with Scion scientists, a lightweight portable electroantennogram (EAG) capable of being mounted on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to actively search for odour traces of target insects to allow early detection and better targeted responses.
Scion’s scientists have proven that connecting a live insect’s antennae to the EAG can successfully sense where other insects are lurking.
Researchers are using this technology to speed up our biosecurity response times and help eradicate pest species before they have an opportunity to become firmly established.
The Cyborg is at the heart of their “Toolkits for the Urban Battlefield“ programme and units have been delivered and are now being tested around the world.
Scion engaged inFact to translate the functionality of its bulky laboratory test equipment into a lightweight, low cost electronic device which could maintain the high level of sensitivity required to detect live insect pheromones – the chemical calling cards of the female.
inFact worked with Scion to define and understand all the processes required to set up and use the EAG and a requirements specification was developed and agreed.
inFact engineers researched, innovated and experimented with a variety of new technology challenges including, solving insect mounting, making this a 15 minute task rather than several hours, an efficient ducting mechanism to provide steady flow of air over the antenna and a sophisticated low noise electronic measurement & control systems required to provide real-time analysis of signals into control commands and real time kinematics and GPS for precision location.
Using this approach researchers could begin to understand how insects move around and search for each other. There is also potential to learn how pheromone clouds behave in the atmosphere and how they are affected (and diluted) by turbulence.
inFact developed handheld electroantennograms for use in live insect pheromone detection trials.
During initial testing with gypsy moths in Canada the EAG detected gypsy moth pheromones 30 m from a dispenser in a controlled environment.
Laboratory results have shown the prototypes are impressively sensitive and could detect one nanogram of gypsy moth pheromones in a microlitre.