Besides guiding your saw or projecting level and plumb lines, lasers can now zap mosquitoes. A team at Intellectual Ventures Lab created a working prototype of their Photonic Fence to detect mosquitoes flying at a distance and shoot them down using lasers. The basic components came from inexpensive consumer electronics (e.g., laser printers, Blu-Ray disc writers, camcorders, and video game consoles).
The Photonic Fence would comprise posts up to 100′ apart with infrared LEDs, retroreflectors, and cameras mounted on each one. Software — lots and lots of software — would monitor the cameras’ outputs for shadows caused by insects flying through the infrared vertical planes between the posts. A nonlethal laser then illuminates the intruding bug, and determines its size and how fast its wings are beating to distinguish a variety of bugs (e.g., mosquitoes, butterflies, bumblebees…). The sex of a mosquito can also be ascertained because females are larger than males and have slower wingbeats. “This is useful because only female mosquitoes bite humans.”
Having done all that and establishing a valid target, the system runs safety checks to make sure no unintended object is in view, and then activates a second, more powerful laser to zap the mosquito, as shown above.
Videos of mosquitoes getting zapped by the system are available aplenty (here, for example).