Why you should use lasers to kill bugs

Illustration for article titled Why you should use lasers to kill bugs

Sure, we have iPhones and running water and imitation crab meat, but when it comes to bugs, most of us still swat them with a flat surface attached to a stick. Find out how it should be done.


Of course some of you out there in readerland are feeling superior right now because you own something that will shoot electricity through bugs. Maybe instead you can show off your fancy new greatcoat and take a ride in a blimp or something, because that would be impressive back in the time of talking telegraphs and horseless carriages, but we're not in that age anymore. If you want to kill bugs in style these days you need to use a laser.

No. To hell with that. You need to use two lasers. One laser is for losers.

The first laser is a reconnaissance laser. It would be continuously given off from a base mounted with a clear view of the entire area that needs to be kept mosquito-free. At the perimeter of this area would be reflective material that would bounce back the photons that the base is giving out. If something were to move in front of the reflective material, it would block the reflected photons and show up as a dark spot.

Of course, not all dark spots are the same, and the ability of the ability to understand that is the selling point of the system. It's not hard to recognize when a beam of light is broken. That's used at the grocery store to make the automatic door open. The difficulty is having that broken stream provide enough detailed information that only certain things get zapped.

This system could, potentially, be so accurate that it differentiates between male mosquitoes and female ones. It could use speed, size, and the frequency of wing beats to figure out if it's potentially a malaria carrying mosquito.

And if it is, it's time for the second laser to do its job. The second laser is much more high-intensity. It will heat the mosquito enough to kill it.

If burning a mosquito alive sounds cruel, well, a million people per year die from malaria. Add to this the fact that ‘the photonic fence', which this technology is called, presumably because ‘Dual Laser Mosquito Killinator' was already copyrighted, is a much more selective killer than most anti-mosquito technology. Sprays and poisons seep into the rest of the ecosystem, and the bug zapper kills thousands of insects indiscriminately. In fact, some models of bug zapper attract mosquitoes without killing them, resulting in more bug bites and friendly insects killed. The laser guided system would differentiate between biting, female mosquitoes, and everything else, making its environmental impact potentially much lower than any other system.

Via Physics.org and Gizmodo.




If it doesn't make an awesome pew pew sound when firing I want nothing to do with it.