The Kite Mosquito Patch is billed as a safe way to keep away mosquitoes for 48 hours, and its inventors recently achieved their Indiegogo fundraising goal of $75,000 by receiving more than $164,000.
Within four days, the Kite founders won over the public by reaching their $75,000 goal. Now with a huge bounty of cash, they hope to start production of Kite within weeks and begin testing the product in Africa.
How does it work? Kite blocks the insect's ability to detect CO2 (which is how mosquitoes find and bite humans), using combinations of flavors and fragrances approved by the FDA for human consumption.
The small colorful patch is applied to clothing (not skin) and provides protection against mosquitoes for up to 48 hours, its website claims.
The site goes on to say Kite "is being designed to replace products using ineffective or toxic chemicals, and also to provide protection for individuals throughout an individual’s normal daily activities."
Most importantly, the Kite team wants to bring their technology to African nations suffering from mosquito-born malaria. They intend to conduct large-scale testing in Uganda, their IndieGogo page writes.
They hope to "send approximately 20,000 Kite patches to Pilgrim Africa in Uganda for the field test."
ieCrowd, the company behind Kite, worked on its mosquito-blocking technology via UC Riverside, where it had received support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the NIH. As this report explains, ieCrowd built a new company and an 11,000 square foot mosquito behavior research lab the company calls "a torture chamber for mosquitoes."
"We're the first company of our kind," said Grey Frandsen, CEO of ieCrowd. "We are laser-focused on bridging the gap that currently exists between America's incredible innovation stock -- the great stuff our innovators are producing on campuses and in labs -- and actually transforming those innovations into companies capable of solving global challenges."
Around 660,000 people died of malaria in 2010, mostly in Africa, according to the World Health Organization. A child dies of the disease every minute of every day, as CNET writes.