DJI, the global leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, and a team of entomologists in the field of malaria elimination are working together to develop a revolutionary technique to fight the disease. By combining the research team’s expertise and DJI’s drone technology, a new way to fight the potentially deadly disease has been created. For the first time, there is a real chance to make a breakthrough in malaria elimination with the help of spray drones.
DJI joined a team of entomologists in Zanzibar to conduct a pilot project using a modified DJI MG1-S Agras drone which sprayed mosquito-infested rice fields with a unique non-toxic and biodegradable silicone-based liquid (Aquatain AMF). The liquid was spread across stagnant water to create a very thin film that prevents pupae and larvae from breathing at the surface, causing them to drown and die.
“We are proud to be pioneers in this field along with scientific experts using our spray drones against malaria in Africa, and we have great hopes that this approach will significantly contribute towards defeating this fatal disease in affected regions around the world”, said Dr. Barbara Stelzner, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communication at DJI Europe. “Reducing the cases of new malaria infections will not only put an end to all the suffering of people, but it will also contribute to generate larger harvests, and provide new economical perspectives in Africa.”
By flying drones that spray biological insecticides in rice fields, the team of experts aim to demonstrate that the mosquito population can be significantly reduced. They will sample the larvae and emerging mosquito population before, during and after spraying to determine the possible impact of this approach in large rice irrigation schemes that are found throughout Africa.
“This experience has been made possible thanks to a customised DJI Agras MG1-S spray drone, enabling the deployment of the Aquatain liquid over rice paddies”, says Dr. Bart Knols, the scientist behind the project, who dedicates his life to research and fighting malaria. “The use of spray drones proves to be essential in efficiently treating large rice fields, because spraying by hand is very time consuming and using a helicopter is too expensive and simply not realistic.”
After the trial, the scientific team intends to publish the findings in a scientific journal and communicate further on the results.
Says Professor Wolfgang Richard Mukabana from the University of Nairobi: “This pilot project is the first attempt to fight malaria with spray drones on such a large scale. If the results of these tests are as good as expected, this could give a tremendous boost for winning the fight against malaria,”
The elimination of malaria in Zanzibar is the public health priority of the Zanzibar Malaria Elimination Program (ZAMEP), which welcomed this innovative spray drone technology as a promising tool to eradicate the disease.
Thanks to the support of Tanzania Flying Labs, a local robotics organisation and its branch located at the State University of Zanzibar, the project will contribute towards economic development by empowering local and regional drone pilots through flight training, data acquisition and business planning.
To read out more about DJI spray drone solutions for Agriculture, click here
To read more about the Anti Malaria Drone project, click here
To read more about Tanzania Flying Labs, click here
DStv Now adds free education to ‘lockdown channels’
In its response to the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa, DStv is offering 16 free channels on its streaming app
Two new channels have been added to a free service being provided on DStv Now, the online version of DStv.
In response to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, DStv owner MultiChoice worked with local and international news channels in mid-March to add 24-hour news coverage to the DStv Now free service.
The company says the intent was to help all South Africans stay up to date with announcements and developments, and the results so far are encouraging. Usage of the service has increased 20% since the lockdown began, and peak usage is up 80% compared to pre-crisis peaks.
Now, in another step to help families through the lockdown period, MultiChoice has added additional educational content to the free service with the Mindset PoP channel. This channel features educational programming covering the entire General Education and Training (GET) phase, including Early Childhood Development (ECD), as well as a key focus on the Grade 4 – 9 curriculum.
The channel aims to prepare children for when schools reopen. Mindset PoP will deliver live lessons daily, with six fresh hours every day. A website is available for parents to download worksheets and information sheets to work through with expert teachers. Lessons are based on the South African Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and are also aligned to the Cambridge curriculum.
“We’re extremely grateful to all of the channel providers for being so willing to work with us to help all South Africans through this unprecedented lockdown period,” said Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice.
“Thanks to their support we’re able to keep people informed, keep kids’ educations going, and keep people entertained.”
The full list of channels available to non-DStv customers on the DStv Now free service is:
100 – DStv
180 – People’s Weather
238 – SuperSport Play
313 – PBS Kids
317 – Mindset PoP
320 – Channel O
343 – TBN
400 – BBC World News
401 – CNN
402 – Sky News
403 – eNCA
404 – SABC News
405 – Newzroom Afrika
405 – AlJazeera
414 – Euronews Now
417 – africanews
To sign up for the DStv Now free service, go to http://now.dstv.com
FNB Connect cuts data price by 55%, offers 1GB free
FNB Connect has reduce its data prices by up to 55%. It is also doubling customers’ data on Lifestyle plans without any price increase.
This weekend, FNB Connect will also give all its customers 1GB of free data during the national lockdown, with a validity period of 30 days. This lockdown data allocation is in addition to the Free Connect allocations that customers with qualifying transactional accounts receive monthly.
“This will enable our customers to save on telco spend, which is a regular feature in household budgets,” says Raj Makanjee, CEO of FNB Retail. “Access to affordable and free data goes a long way in assisting our customers navigate difficult times and is also aligned to our ethos of offering real help when it’s needed the most.”
Shadrack Palmer, FNB Connect product head, says: “In our efforts to provide our customers with more value for their money, we’ve reduced our mobile data prices and doubled the data bundles on most of our Lifestyle plans, to give our customers more reason to connect anywhere and anytime. This is needed now more than even, as South Africans are observing the 21-day national lockdown, with many strapped for cash during these challenging times.”
The new data prices and doubling of the Lifestyle plans are to be repriced as follows:
“Since the launch of our Free Connect offering in July 2019, we’ve tried to remain consistent to see how best we can incentivise our customers when they need it most,” says Palmer. “As FNB Connect, we understand the pressures customers are facing financially and are committed to providing better value at every opportunity.”