Who doesn’t hate mosquitoes? For centuries humans have had to endure this pest, and we started to win the war when DDT came out. Of course DDT isn’t allowed any more, but now you can kill these little buggers with a new gadget. It’s like Star Wars technology for vampire defense. I want one, preferably with a USB port so I can watch the body count on my PC. It will probably be a few years before the digitized ghost of Billy Mays hawks one on TV though. Still, I want one.
Here’s some background from Information Week:
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the project has been dubbed “WMD: Weapon of Mosquito Destruction.” It aims to kill mosquitoes with lasers to prevent the spread of malaria, which mosquitoes can transmit.
The anti-mosquito laser system is being funded by Intellectual Ventures, a company run by Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft’s former CTO.
Kare said that “WMD: Weapon of Mosquito Destruction” isn’t a term used internally to refer to the project. He calls the project “the Photonic Fence.” “When we’re being lighthearted, we call it ‘the bug zapper,'” he explained.
As its name suggests, the Photonic Fence prototype consists of two posts that direct laser fire at mosquitoes that fly between them. Kare said the research team is still optimizing its targeting algorithm. “But we definitely can detect them and aim a beam at them,” he said.
When that happens, the mosquitoes literally get toasted.
From the intellectualventureslab.com website: This illustration shows one way our “photonic fence” mosquito laser system could be used to set up a perimeter defense, protecting a single building. The red “fence” shows a border that mosquitoes can’t pass through, but it is safe for everything else. There is no top coverage because mosquitoes don’t fly very high.
Here’s the videos of mosquitoes meeting a well deserved death by laser fire:
Here’s the live demonstration setup at the 2010 TED conference: