Mankin's latest research uses acoustics (sound) to detect insects in plant crops. Researchers recently built acoustic systems that successfully detect insects hidden from view in crop stalks or underneath the soil surface. The scientists can't see the bugs, but the equipment helps them hear the bugs. This equipment can tell the difference between insect noises made by crawling or chewing and background noises such as wind or vehicle traffic.
The researchers created computer programs that record different sounds they hear when searching for infestations.They use microphones, sensors, clamps and computer software to find out if a crop is being attacked by bugs.