Cy­borg to de­tect harm­ful bugs from the air

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Growers Research -

SHOULD NEW ZEALAND EVER SEE AN­OTHER IN­CUR­SION OF THE Painted Ap­ple Moth, as hap­pened in the 1990s, a Cy­borg will be wait­ing to de­tect it.

De­vel­oped by Scion, Cy­borg is the name given to a de­vice that is sus­pended by heli­copter or large hov­er­ing drone that con­tains so­phis­ti­cated sen­sors that can de­tect the pheromones of bugs like the Painted Ap­ple Moth and pin­point their lo­ca­tion.

Armed with this in­for­ma­tion, of­fi­cials can then send in a ground team with sprays or even drone-mounted spray units to take out the bugs in lo­cal neigh­bour­hoods be­fore they be­come es­tab­lished.

Like the 1990s in­cur­sion, the next bugs to in­fil­trate New Zealand bor­ders are likely to be first spot­ted in ur­ban ar­eas, such as Auck­land, so Scion is de­vel­oped an Ur­ban Rapid Re­sponse pro­gramme to be ready.

Cy­borg is at the heart of this pro­gramme and the cur­rent test unit is be­ing fur­ther re­fined to be­come smaller, lighter and far eas­ier to be used with drones in the fu­ture. The sen­sors fit­ted to the Cy­borg as so sen­si­tive they can de­tect quite small amounts of pheromones se­creted in the air by moths.

Scion’s Tara Strand told the For­est Grow­ers Re­search con­fer­ence in Christchurch that early de­tec­tion and re­sponse will be more im­por­tant in the fu­ture, as the pub­lic is far less likely to ac­cept the Op­er­a­tion Ever Green blan­ket aerial spray­ing by a DC6 air­craft that was used in the 1990s to erad­i­cate the Painted Ap­ple Moth.


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