Skip to main content

Quito

A low-cost and sustainable CO2-based mosquito trap designed to reduce mosquito populations, targeted at the context that is most ideal for mosquito-borne diseases transmission — tropical tourism.

  • Quito in context.

  • A trailer for Quito showing how it's made and how it works in an abstract and fun way!

    A trailer for Quito showing how it's made and how it works in an abstract and fun way!

  • Quito mimics a human presence by producing artificial cues that are attractive to the mosquitoes.

  • The anatomy of Quito.

  • Some notable lure and airflow iterations showing improvement in catch rate and handicraft research.

  • The latest prototype at an exhibition.

What it does

Quito mimics a human presence to attract and capture mosquitoes rather than repelling them. In doing so, it is addressing the public health crisis through the overall reduction of the mosquito population in a socially and environmentally friendly approach.


Your inspiration

Having survived a mosquito-borne outbreak with an annual death toll of 700,000 when growing up in Indonesia, I became aware of a bigger problem during a recent visit to Bali. A resort village of Canggu with an area of 6 km2 is 70% covered in rice paddies, an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. The remaining 30% hosts more than 2,200 villas with private pools, cramming thousands of international travellers in a density of a Jakarta slum. The inconvenience and inefficacy of current preventions such as mosquito coil and fumigation combined with being at the gateway of international travel make it a vulnerable starting ground for a pandemic.


How it works

Quito attracts and traps mosquitoes by using a combination of fermentation and low-power electronic to reproduce cues they use to find humans. The Lure Cartridge at the top is an airtight ceramic container containing sugar water, yeast and lactic acid that reacts to produce CO2 and artificial human odour. Underneath it is an aerodynamic slip-casted Intake Funnel that hosts a heating element and an impeller powered by a single 6v motor which generates low heat and airflow that would carry the lure. These combinations of heat, moisture, natural CO2 and artificial scent from the lure cartridge are slowly dispersed through the corrugated rattan shell, similar to that of human skin. At the other end of the airflow, a suction is created, drawing the attracted mosquitoes in through the funnel and into the Deathbed where they are trapped and dehydrated by the airflow, ensuring low maintenance and mess-free cleanup.


Design process

Entomological research on mosquito behaviour points out that mosquitoes use a combination of CO2 trace from our respiration, our skin scent and our body heat to land on our blood vessel, which inspired me to create a device that would reproduce those cues to trap them. I begin by experimenting with more sustainable methods of producing CO2 ranging from a simple vinegar and baking soda experiment, into brewing technique using sugar water and yeast along with adding natural acid such as lactic acid. Simultaneously, found objects such as plastic buckets, carboards, wire mesh, and computer fans were used to develop a contraption with the most efficient airflow. Different composition of lure mixtures and contraption design were run over 12-hour test sessions, with incremental iterations until the trials yielded significant numbers of trapped mosquitos. In parallel, I also visited Indonesian villages researching sustainable traditional handicrafts to synthesise the technology into a culturally appropriate package with a local supply chain to ensure cost-effective and sustainable production. The chosen crafts are rattan bending and weaving and ceramic slip-casting, two extremely sustainable crafts with minimum carbon footprint both in their sourcing and manufacturing.


How it is different

What makes Quito so unique is the problem framing. By identifying a specific target market that is most impacted by the issue, the design is heavily informed by local cultures, economy, and climate resulting in a solution that is original, relatable and affordable for the people. Rattan is sourced from Borneo by local farmers, transported via rivers and hand-bent and woven by local artisans. Paired with the locally made slip-casted ceramic means the entire structure is biodegradable. Utilising local handicraft also enables low quantity production runs, bringing retail cost down to under $150, competitive with fumigation and other traps. For operation, Quito relies on a minimal electrical input to power the 6V motor and heating coil. The lure cartridge can be refilled or replaced independently through interaction identical to that of a drinking water dispenser present in every household in Bali, a huge contrast to the competitors who rely on burning propane.


Future plans

I picture this technology to be the go-to standard for the tropical hospitality industry and eventually in households. To optimise the technology and delivery, pilot production and study utilising the already established local supply chain and through personal connections in the hospitality industry in Bali need to be conducted. Commercially, I plan to expand the product range by engineering the technology into other forms such as a planter, vertical garden and outdoor lamps making it appeal to a wider range of customers enabling trademark protection while providing significant contribution in preventing mosquito-borne diseases at scale.


Awards

Quito was awarded an "Excellence in Health and Wellbeing Design" by the Swinburne School of Design.


End of main content. Return to top of main content.