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Saving crops and people with bug sensors
Date:4/29/2014

p>But, open the closet door and there are a couple dozen shoebox-size plastic containers from a local pet store, each filled with up to 100 insects and connected to an optical sensor. The sensor consists of a phototransistor array, which is connected to an electronic board and a laser pointing at the phototransistor array.

When the insect passes across the laser beam, its wings partially block the light, causing a small light fluctuation. The fluctuations are captured by the phototransistor array as changes in current, the signal is then filtered and amplified by the custom designed electronic board. The output of the electronic board is fed into a digital sound recorder and recorded as an MP3 and downloaded to a computer.

The goal is to make this automated classification method as simple, inexpensive and ubiquitous as current methods such as sticky traps and interception traps, but with digital advantages such as higher accuracy, real-time monitoring and the ability to collect additional flight behavior patterns.

In their experiments, the UC Riverside researchers worked with six species of insects. As they added additional insect flight behavior patterns to their classification algorithm, they were able to increase their success classifying the different species.

For example, using only wingbeat sounds they had an 88 percent success rate. When they added time of day the success rate jumped to 95 percent. Then, after adding location, the success rate increased to 97 percent.

The researchers believe that success rate can further be improved by adding additional variables, such as height at which the insects fly and environmental variables such as temperature and humidity.

In a separate experiment, the researchers tested classification accuracy by adding an increasing number of species. With two species, they had 99 percent accuracy. That percentage slowly declined as they added more species. For example, with fi
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Contact: Sean Nealon
sean.nealon@ucr.edu
951-827-1287
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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