At TED 2010, Nathan Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures Laboratory showed off its Photonic Fence proof of concept. Basically, this is a very capable mosquito killer, which uses lasers to shoot the wee monsters out of the sky at up to 100 times a second.
The concept is targetted (sorry) for malarial regions, potentially hospitals or schools, and the technology is able to tell the difference between a mosquito and other objects based on size and wing-beat frequency, thus allowing mosquitos to be zapped but bees to be left alone.
The setup does require some configuration with a light reflective screen – you can’t just plonk the gadget down and let it get on with it – and while malaria control is a worthy goal, I can’t help but wonder if there are better commercial opportunities in protecting high-value crops.
There’s a video on the Ventures Lab site (link above) which shows the device in action.
Apparently this is just a proof-of-concept made out of readily available parts and they’re looking for commercial partners to see if it’s a viable concept. Expect to see the mosquito laser turret in a few years.