Teen Inventor’s Solution Battles Invasive Spotted Lanternfly with AI Technology

Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Selina Zhang, a high school senior from New Jersey, devised an innovative solution called ArTreeficial to combat the invasive spotted lanternfly, which has devastated local agriculture. The artificial tree uses AI-driven technology to lure and eliminate the pests while minimizing ecological damage caused by traditional control methods. Zhang’s inspiration came from chess boards and the game “Dance Dance Revolution,” combined with weeks of field observation and algorithmic programming.

Her invention consists of a solar-powered structure that emits scents to attract the lanternflies, and upon landing, they are zapped by an electric net controlled by an AI model. Zhang’s interdisciplinary approach earned her recognition as one of the 40 finalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search. She hopes to further develop ArTreeficial to address other invasive species and promote sustainable agriculture. Zhang’s dedication to environmental conservation and innovative problem-solving showcases the potential of integrating artificial resources in biological research.