ZIPPITY ZAP!: Killing Mosquitos With Lasers

February 12, 2010

Remember the story about killing mosquitos with a laser shield? Well this is a short video of the proposed pew-pew shield in action. But, for the record, it still doesn't have shit on my bug-zapper. That's just quality entertainment. Oooh, quick -- a moth's catching fire!

When an invading insect is detected, our software identifies it by training a nonlethal laser beam on the bug and using that illumination to estimate the insect's size and also to measure how fast its wings are beating. Using this method, the system can not only distinguish among mosquitoes, butterflies, and bumblebees, but it can even determine whether a mosquito is male or female! (Females are significantly larger than males and have slower wingbeats.) This is useful because only female mosquitoes bite humans.

Our software is able to track a mosquito in flight once it establishes that it is a valid target. After running safety checks to ensure no unintended object is in view, the system activates a second, more powerful laser that zaps the mosquito, causing death either by damage to its DNA (an unconfirmed hypothesis) or by overheating. The energy levels and light frequencies used are not capable of damaging human tissue, but even so, we've built in safeguards that ensure that the system doesn't fire when anything much larger than a mosquito is in the photonic fence.

Impressive, but I still wouldn't wave my hand around in front of it. Just sayin', I remember that sonic force-field on LOST. F***ing thing repelled the black smoke, I'm not waving my dong between those towers. Yes, yes I am. This is how you become a superhero, right?

Intellectual Ventures Lab

Thanks to Mycropht, Tej, Ken, Clint, Bryan, Ste, Matt and UncleFUJ, who kill mosquitoes the old fashioned way: with fly swatters. You guys are so oldschool. I love it!

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