Definition

Mosquito teen repeller (Teen Buzz)

Part of the Electronics glossary:

The Mosquito is a device that creates a high-pitched noise like an amplified version of its namesake. Inventor and security expert Howard Stapleton created the device, a 9-inch black box which creates an 80- decibel pulsing frequency with an effective range of 15-20 meters. The device is intended to prevent youth from congregating around convenience stores and other places where loitering has been problematic.

Most mature adults are unable to hear the sound although it is clearly audible and, according to reports, highly annoying to most teenagers and children. Ingenious teens have since turned the ultrasonic sound to their advantage, by creating a ringtone that can alert them to text messages undetectably to adults -- including teachers and parents. The ringtone version of the mosquito has been called "Teen Buzz."

When the Mosquito teen repeller was tested at a convenience store in South Wales, here's how one teen described the sound: "It's loud and squeaky and it just goes through you." According to an article on News.com , teenagers, with their fingers in their ears, repeatedly begged the store owner to turn off the device. Adults, on the other hand, were said to carry on shopping, completely oblivious to the noise.

CompoundSecurity.co.uk, which markets the Mosquito, claims that the sound is not bothersome immediately (so that teenagers should have time to make a purchase normally) and that, because the sound is stronger the closer one gets and does not effectively pass though barriers, it should not bother neighbors. Stapleton has considered creating a louder version of the Mosquito for emergency situations, such as when gangs of teenagers converge on a store to shoplift as a group.

The Mosquito won the Ig Nobel award (a less serious version of the Nobels) for Peace in 2006.

This was last updated in March 2011
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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