Monday, October 24, 2016

Laser zaps mosquitoes out of the sky

A new product being developed and tested aims to zap mosquitoes out of the air before they have a chance to infect humans.

The Photonic Fence was created through the Global Good program — a collaboration between Bill Gates and Intellectual Ventures that tries to fill the gaps between technology and what people need.

“We have existing solutions for things like malaria, but they don’t really work,” said Arty Makagon, technical project lead at Intellectual Ventures.

Makagon referenced how bed nets treated with insecticide are used across the world to protect people from malaria, but mosquitoes have adapted.

When the pests realized they weren’t getting their blood meals at night — their main biting time — they started going after humans during the day. The once-nocturnal mosquitoes also developed resistance to the insecticides used on the nets.

With the Photonic Fence, if a malaria-carrying mosquito flew within the device’s range, a laser would shoot it down.