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Agreeable replacement


A smartphone can help detect the Zika virus.

But research into how mosquitoes spread diseases is disagreeable for living test objects and both expensive and time-consuming.

Cue a research team from Rice University, which has developed a cost-effective method using a synthetic, 3D-printed hydrogel skin.

The gel is placed in a closed chamber with mosquitoes, and its tiny passageways filled with human blood.

An artificial intelligence analyses camera feeds capturing the feeding and biting patterns of the insects.

When skins were coated with either a plant-based or chemical repellent, mosquitoes rejected both.

Research is currently focused on the transmission of dengue fever.

Special plasters could soon mean that medication is administered pain-free, and that certain diseases are detected early.

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