Cyborg to detect harmful bugs from the air
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.