Forget bug spray — LG recently unveiled a new smartphone that repels mosquitos using sound waves. The India-exclusive K7i smartphone is a fairly ordinary phone with a 5-inch HD display, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage – however its unique Mosquito Away feature sets it apart from other devices. The K7i emits ultrasonic sound waves that supposedly drive pesky mosquitoes away from the vicinity of the phone.
The Mosquito Away feature was previously installed in the company’s air conditioners, washing machines, and TVs. According to LG, the ultrasonic waves are “absolutely safe” for humans. Additionally, the technology is silent, odorless and also user-friendly. It is presently selling for 7,990 rupees in India — or $121.
Unfortunately, it’s not clear whether or not the technology actually works. The BBC, for instance, says the tech is a myth. And according to Bart Knols, an entomologist who chairs the advisory board of the Dutch Malaria Foundation, there is “no scientific evidence whatsoever” that mosquitos can be driven away using ultrasonic sound technology.
If the Mosquito Away feature does work, the technology could have grand implications. Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. In 2015, 212 million malaria cases were reported, which resulted in 429,000 deaths. Through prevention and control measures, there has been a 29 percent reduction in malaria mortality globally since 2010. However, the parasite which is spread by mosquitos still puts populations at risk, particularly in third-world nations.