Google’s life-science team to release 20 million mosquitoes in Fresno

It may sound counterintuitive, but Alphabet’s life sciences unit Verily is releasing about 20 million mosquitoes in Fresno, California in order to fight Zika, the mosquito-borne illness. It’s part of Verily’s Debug Project, an initiative announced last October with the mission of reducing “the devastating global health impact that disease-carrying mosquitoes inflict on people around the world.” And now, Verily is launching Debug Fresno, the company’s first field study in the U.S. that will test a mosquito control method that involves sterile insect technique.

In essence, the 20 million mosquitoes Verily is releasing are all sterile males that have been treated with Wolbachia, a naturally occurring bacterium. The test is said to be the largest release of sterile male mosquitoes in the U.S. thus far. Over the next 20 weeks, these bugs will be released in two neighborhoods around 300 acres large. The hope is that when these sterile males mate with wild females, which can carry and transmit a number of diseases including Zika, dengue, and chikungunya, the resulting eggs will not hatch. Verily will determine the success of its test by comparing the adult population density and egg hatching of this particular kind of mosquito in the targeted neighborhoods to two control neighborhoods.

And don’t worry — male mosquitoes do not bite, so even though you might be seeing more of these critters around, you won’t be itching as a result.

Linus Upson, a senior engineer at Verily, told the MIT Technology Review that this could ultimately become a cost effective way to control mosquito populations, and get rid of diseases (though he didn’t say how much exactly this experiment actually costs). “If we really want to be able to help people globally, we need to be able to produce a lot of mosquitoes, distribute them to where they need to be, and measure the populations at very, very low costs,” he said. “We want to show this can work in different kinds of environments,” he told the magazine.

Alphabet, the holding company in charge of Google, rebranded its Google Life Sciences team as Verily at the end of 2015, and said the team would move away from Google and become its own independent division.

So look out, Fresno. You may hear a lot more buzzing in the coming weeks, but rest assured, it’s all for good purpose.

Smart Home

Instant Pot has another winner with its Accu Slim sous vide

We all know that Instant Pots are the bomb, but did you know that Instant Pot has a sous vide immersion circulator too? The Accu Slim lets you cook sous vide recipes at home. How does it perform? We tested the device to find out.

24 must-have apps for rooted Android phones and tablets

Rooting your Android device opens up a world of possibilities, along with a few apps. Here are 24 of our favorites, so you can make the most of your rooted device and unleash the true power of Android.

How the Google Stadia could lead to a new era of multi-GPU gaming

Google's Stadia could use more than one graphics card to deliver the high-performance visuals it's promised. If that leads to better developer support for multi-GPUs, could that mean gaming with two or more graphics cards could finally be…

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.

Fitbit Versa Lite versus Fitbit Versa: How are they different?

Fitbit took the best of its popular Versa smartwatch and removed some elements to create the new Versa Lite, an even more affordable entry-level smartwatch. How does the Versa Lite differ from the original Versa? Read on to find out.
Health & Fitness

AncestryDNA price drop makes it more affordable to discover your family origins

In step with St. Patrick's Day's emphasis on roots, AncestryDNA cut its price for a DNA-based ancestry search by $40. Send in a saliva sample to receive an estimated ethnicity breakdown, locations of origin, and possible living relatives.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Bowflex’s spring sale has limited-time deals on treadmills, home gyms, and more

Gyms membership are expensive which is home gyms are a great alternative. When it comes to home gyms, Bowflex designs great fitness training equipment for your home so you can get the full gym experience. Right now Bowflex is offering huge…

This Bowflex promo code will save you up to $1,000 on training equipment

The Bowflex HVT machine is designed to fit anyone's needs. Whether you're getting back into shape or you train every day, Bowflex's HVT, which stands for hybrid velocity training, combines both cardio and working out in one machine. Now you…

Sony could use a robot to turn your PlayStation into a fitness machine

Sony submitted a patent application for a robotic device equipped with a camera to assist in your workout. The images included suggest that the device will work with your PlayStation console.

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.

Yamaha’s Wabash ebike takes on gravel, single track, and more

The Wabash gravel ebike from Yamaha gives riders a versatile and powerful option for riding trails, pavement, mud, sand, dirt, and more, with plenty of range and power for all-day adventures.

Even older Apple Watches could be effective at spotting heart conditions

The Apple Watch Series 4 is known for detecting heart conditions like atrial fibrillation thanks to having an electrocardiograph feature. It turns out that older Apple Watches could be effective at tracking AFib, too.
Health & Fitness

Under Armour HOVR is more than a running shoe, it’s a fitness tracker

Under Armour HOVR running shoes bring more to the table than just a comfortable fit. With UA's Record Sensor technology, you can track distance, duration, and even the path you take as you run.