LG has launched a new smartphone, the LG K7i, that the company says will repel mosquitoes using ultrasonic waves. The company claims the device addresses a real concern in the phone's target market—India—but many scientists say the underlying tech does not, in fact, repel mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are a nuisance in parts of India, and in some cases they carry diseases like dengue fever and the chikungunya virus, which have become common in urban centers. Malaria is also a risk in India. LG is selling consumer electronics devices in India, and it has been marketing a technology called "Mosquito Away," which claims to repel the mosquitos. The tech has previously appeared in air conditioners and other LG products, and now it's a key part of the LG K7i's marketing. LG says its tests of the LG K7i repelled "on average 72 percent of disease-spreading mosquitoes," according to CNN.
However, the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) and other groups say it won't work. Texas A&M University entomology professor Dr. Roger Gold spent years running studies that have debunked ultrasonic bug repellant as well. According to the AMCA: "At least 10 studies in the past 15 years have unanimously denounced ultrasonic devices as having no repellency value whatsoever." The organization goes on to say that nevertheless, the tech has proven to be an "exceedingly effective marketing tool for the repeller manufacturers."