Sunday, February 14, 2010

TED Talks mischief: lasers killing mosquitoes by the hundreds


Malaria is a huge problem worldwide, so it's no surprise to anyone that plenty of people spend lots of time trying to think of ways to rid the world of mosquitoes, prime movers of the disease. Nathan Myhrvold's company Intellectual Ventures Labs (and former chief technology officer at Microsoft) is focusing on just that. Using widely available and common electronics parts, Intellectual Ventures has made lasers which can kill mosquitoes mid-flight -- at a rate of about 50 to 100 per second. Myhrvold first publicly demonstrated this laser (which is made of parts of printers, digital cameras, and projectors) at the TED conference the other day, using hundreds of mosquitoes in a clear glass case to make his point. The laser's software determines the size and shape of the target before deciding whether or not to shoot, so, for instance -- it wouldn't take aim at a person or a bumblebee. The lasers could be used to protect hospitals and clinics in areas with high mosquito populations and in areas with a high rate of malaria infestation. Now, this is surprisingly not the first time we've seen such a trick -- though it is the first time we've seen video evidence of it working. There are some insanely informative (and murderous) videos at the source link. Be sure to check them out.

Update: Video is after the break.

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TED Talks mischief: lasers killing mosquitoes by the hundreds originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 14 Feb 2010 09:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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