Documenting the Coming Singularity

Thursday, March 19, 2009

At last! - Scientists Build Anti-Mosquito Laser - March 16th, 2009, by Lisa Zyga

In an effort to prevent the spread of malaria, scientists have built a laser that shoots and kills mosquitoes. Malaria, which is caused by a parasite and transmitted by mosquitoes, kills about 1 million people every year.

A laser that kills mosquitoes could help reduce the spread of malaria. Image credit: PlaneMad/Wikipedia

The anti-mosquito laser was originally introduced by astrophysicist Lowell Wood in the early 1980s, but the idea never took off. More recently, former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold revived the laser idea when Bill Gates asked him to explore new ways of combating malaria.

Now, astrophysicist Jordin Kare from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Wood, Myhrvold, and other experts have developed a handheld laser that can locate individual mosquitoes and kill them one by one. The developers hope that the technology might be used to create a laser barrier around a house or village that could kill or blind the insects. Alternatively, flying drones equipped with anti-mosquito lasers could track the insects with radar and then sweep the sky with the laser.

The researchers are tuning the strength of the laser so that it kills mosquitoes without harming other insects or, especially, people. The system can even distinguish between males and females by the frequency of their wing movements, which may be important since only females spread the parasite.

Read more>>

Follow me on Twitter. Technological Singularity and Futurism is updated often; the easiest way to get your regular dose is by subscribing to our news feed. Stay on top of all our updates by subscribing now via RSS or Email.