Forget bug spray. A new app claims to be able to repel mosquitoes. And it’s not a joke: the app’s called the Anti Mosquito Sonic Repeller, and it causes smartphones to release a high-frequency vibration that mosquitoes (allegedly) avoid. The app is currently available for free in both the iTunes and Android App Stores.
So are our days of itching mosquito bites over? Hardly. The makers of the app admit that it’s “not 100%” effective. And in marketing lingo, making that statement is basically the equivalent of saying “this product probably doesn’t work at all.” Here’s why: Technically, something that’s 99.9% effective isn’t 100% effective. But likewise, something that’s 75% effective also isn’t 100% effective. And neither is something that’s 50% effective. Or something that’s 10% effective. And finally: Something that’s 0% effective (with identical logical certainty) is not 100% effective. See the problem?
By making a negative statement, the app makers assume no liability if the app does nothing to repel mosquitoes. But by cleverly throwing in the term “100%,” it’s implied that the effectiveness of their product might be close to perfect. But in reality, if the app were that good, they’d say it—something like “stops 95% of mosquitoes.” But since they probably have no idea what percentage of mosquitoes their app stops (or whether it actually stops any), the makers chose the sophistical and deceptive “not 100%” label.
Although the app probably doesn’t work, it could be on the right track. Insects like mosquitoes experience the world much differently from us—we’re literally on different wavelengths. (Even dogs—who are infinitely more similar to us than mosquitoes are—hear a significantly different range of frequencies than humans.) It’s 100% possible that a device could be made that emitted vibrations that effectively repelled mosquitoes—and also wasn’t annoying to us. But it’s highly doubtful that the makers of a free app put the time and money into research, development, and testing to make such a device even close to workable.
Some day, my friends.
To get rid of the Nassau mosquitoes bothering you, call the pros so you can rest easy.