Sydney, Jan 9 (IANS) A tiny sensor detects termites by ‘hearing’ them chew through wood and SMSing a pest control firm to nip the infestation in the bud.
The device, called WiSPr (wireless smart probe network), can also detect termite activity in timber bridges and wooden power poles, according to researchers.
Adam Osseiran, associate professor at Edith Cowan University, said the technology consists of a sensor tinier than a fingernail, which is attached to a piece of wood and placed around the house, the journal Biology Letters reports.
‘It’s a wireless acoustic sensor that listens and recognises the acoustic ‘signature’ of termites chewing on your house,’ he said, according to an Edith Cowan statement.
‘You would need about 20 devices placed every few metres around a house and they would be continuously listening and monitoring and providing an effective shield against termite attacks,’ said Osseiran.
The market for termite control is huge. ‘In Australia alone, there are 130,000 houses attacked by termites,’ Osseiran said, ‘causing an estimated $1 billion to $3 billion (Australian) damage a year.’
In the US, the yearly damage bill for termites tops $12 billion, and the main three markets for termite control are the US, Japan and Australia.