Can LG's smartphone really repel mozzies? It's your call

NEW DELHI •You can do almost anything with a smartphone these days, including using it as a repellent against blood-sucking mosquitoes.

South Korean electronics company LG has launched a new smartphone with a feature called Mosquito Away technology, which uses ultrasonic sound waves to keep the insects away. The k-series LGK7i is for sale exclusively in India and is priced at 7,990 rupees (S$169).

The mosquito-repellent technology has been a feature of some of the company's air-conditioners, TVs and washing machines, but this is the first time it is included in a mobile phone. The 8-megapixel camera phone also features a 5-inch display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage space and an unspecified quad-core processor. The device's internal storage can be expanded to up to 256GB via a MicroSD card slot.

The ultrasonic sound waves used to repel mosquitoes are in a frequency above 30kHz, which is above the range of human hearing, said LG on its website.

It added that the frequency is "absolutely safe and harmless for humans" and that "no harmful radiations are emitted".

The company also claims on its website that about 72 per cent of anopheles gambiae mosquitoes - primarily responsible for transmitting malaria - were repelled in clinical trials using the phone's ultrasound technology.

However, some experts have said it is a myth that ultrasonic sound waves can be used to fend off mosquitoes.

Entomologist Bart Knols, who chairs the advisory board of the Dutch Malaria Foundation, was quoted by the BBC in 2012 as saying that there was "no scientific evidence whatsoever" that ultrasound repels mosquitoes.

He added that people should be protecting themselves with bed nets, lotions and anti-malarial drugs instead of using ultrasound.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2017, with the headline 'Can LG's smartphone really repel mozzies? It's your call'. Print Edition | Subscribe