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Patent pending and Start-up from a Mechatronics Bachelors Thesis Project

FiM students make the BBC news!

The bed bug device has been tested in a lab with a handful of bed bugs. [Photo: David Callahan]
Published Nov 10, 2023

The bedbug invasion has been big news recently! KTH students Maja Åstrand and Simon Lilja, who took the FiM course in Spring 2022, may have found a solution.

In Spring 2022, Maja and Simon wanted to design and build a prototype for a lure for bedbugs, a simulator device using a CO2 signal emitter as the bait instead of a real-life human breathing and waiting to be bitten. (You can read their report on DiVA: Mechatronic Bedbug Attractor: Attracting bedbugs using the principles of human breathing ).

The Bachelor thesis course for Mechatronics  (MF133x, aka "FiM" carried over from the original Swedish title "Fördjupningsarbete i Mekatronik”) runs each Spring term, and offers students perhaps their first real chance of a hands-on project.

The bachelor thesis course in Mechatronics is somewhat unique in that students are encouraged to come up with their own idea for a thesis project,” says course leader Daniel Frede. “Our course gives them the opportunity to explore those ideas with the support of the staff so the students can build an actual protoype for their project. Taking the course, students get the chance to realize a fun project they never had the time, knowledge or resources to do at home – plus they get credits and a degree for it.

The Mechatronics bachelor thesis course supports student learning through lectures, workshops and seminars, among other activities. When building the prototype, students can use the range of rapid protoype equipment available to them through the KTH Protoype Center , based at the Department of Engineering Design.

We were referenced in a BBC Future article!

"This Fall, some traffic actually started trickling in to the DiVA link for our KEX report. Our work had apparently been mentioned and linked to in a BBC Future article , which felt really cool!” said Maja. “We are grateful we had such a good KEX course that gave us the opportunity to explore our own idea - it was invaluable to us!

With a patent pending, Simon and Maja have formed the company SimulAir with support from KTH Innovation . You can read more about their work (including a video of how the machine works) in the KTH Innovation news article Exterminating bed bugs would no longer require a ‘human sacrifice’ !

close up photo of a bedbug

BBC Future article "Why are bed bugs so difficult to deal with?"

Some researchers are coming up with ways to lure bed bugs out of their hiding places so that they are more susceptible to pesticides. Students at Stockholm's Royal Institute of Technology recently created a machine that can simulate human breathing . The idea is that the machine could act as bait to lure the bedbugs out of their nests, as research suggests that bedbugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide (CO2) that humans emit.
[Extract from article by Jasmin Fox-Skelly, 20th October 2023]

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Belongs to: Engineering Design
Last changed: Nov 10, 2023