Die bloodsuckers – pew pew

In a bid to combat malaria, Intellectual Ventures is developing a method of killing mosquitoes with lasers. The system is called a Photonic Fence and identifies the beasties by the frequency of their wing flapping (hey, that’s exactly how we know when they’re dive-bombing our heads). Once locked-on, it’s death to the filthy blood-suckers.

This story was latched onto by the gambit of news sources in the middle of 2009. Since then, the development team has added some pretty interesting info on their webpage. Last Feburary several videos of mosquito flight were posted. These were shot at 6000 fps using specially designed photographic rigs (probably much like this one) to make sure the shots were in focus. Now they’re slated to give a talk at the 2010 TED conference. The publication of these talks sometimes lags behind by several months so be patient. Watch the video after the break to get some abstract shots of the hardware being used; they’re not giving up the goods until the conference.

[Thanks Juan]

Comments

  1. fred says:

    “the basic components needed for such a system largely exist already in inexpensive consumer electronics, such as laser printers, Blu-ray disc writers, camcorders, and video game consoles. The working prototype at Intellectual Ventures Lab was constructed almost entirely from parts purchased second-hand on eBay and similar websites.”

    sounds like it could feasibly stay under $100 if mass produced, don’t be hatin!

  2. austin says:

    you could probably store energy needed to fire it from sunlight. in areas where mosquitoes are plentiful so too is sunlight. mosquitoes are usually worst at night though so you have to store the energy.

    of course why dont we just let some bats loose down there? those things are great to have around and almost as fun to watch swooping at insects as a laser firing at em. if there arent already bats there should be, they would have no natural enemy and eat the crap out of those mosquitoes.

    @jack: they could just evolve to mimick an insect that ISNT targeted by the lasers.

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