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The Ultimate Bug Zapper

Posted by Andrew at 9:17 AM on February 19, 2010

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.

One Comment

  1. From wekebu at 1:55 pm on February 21, 2010

    It says it won’t kill other insects, if that is true, good invention. Normal bug zappers kill only insects that are attracted to light, so doesn’t kill mosquitoes and does kill some beneficial bugs.