How Mosquito Laser Defense Works?

The problems of mosquitoes and mosquito-related diseases are currently experienced across the world. Depending on the weather, climate, and season, the volume of mosquitoes in your area will vary.

In our area, Dengue is extremely widespread and many children die from it yearly. Therefore, I also worry about how I can protect my family from these pesky little insects.

So I imagine that other families also want to find options on how to keep safe from mosquitoes and how to eliminate them completely. Some individuals prefer to go for natural options such as planting citronella around their house.

There are many options such as chemical and natural mosquito repellents. Some are in the form of lotions, sprays, or diffusers.

As technology pushes forward, other options on how to get rid of mosquitoes have been proposed and invented. One of these ideas comes in the form of lasers.

Lasers are used for a variety of functions depending on the strength of the beam. So it’s fully understandable that people have thought of using it for pest control.

How it works

Fundamentally, mosquito laser defense systems have one obvious goal: to shoot down mosquitoes. It sounds easy enough but everything that goes on in the machine is much more complex.

The main technology in play here is called a Photonic Fence. Basically, with infrared LED lamps, a field of light is created.

Using cameras, the field of light is monitored and once a bug is detected a non-lethal laser shoots at the insect. This non-lethal laser will check the size and wing-flapping frequency.

All this information helps determine the kind of insect and even gender. More calculations and steps follow until a lethal laser is authorized to shoot.

By overheating or damaging the insect’s DNA, the laser is able to successfully kill it. Unfortunately, the effectivity of this project has been greeted with speculation as making a photonic fence can be incredibly expensive.

When done correctly and with enough capital to invest, there is no doubt that this will function terrifically. But for poorer communities, it’s too costly to make.

You can watch more about this technology in the video below.

​How to make a laser mosquito killer?

If you’re interested in constructing your own Photonic Fence, Jordin Kare has a publication called “Backyard Star Wars”. This shows instructions on how to DIY a Photonic Fence.

In order to make sure that the mosquitoes passing by the targeted area is caught, the virtual fence should be about 3 to 5 meters high. This will make sure that the mosquitoes are intercepted even at a higher altitude.

You’ll need some non-interlaced cameras or cameras that allow interlacing to be disabled. In order to successfully detect the mosquitoes, the mosquito should be able to occupy at least one pixel.

Four cameras for each post is necessary. Specifically, each post should have 2 at the top and 2 at the bottom. Make sure that the cameras face the 2 adjacent posts. Of course, the data needs to be processed. However, we really don’t recommend using a USB connection since the goal is to decrease latency; therefore, we suggest using gigabit Ethernet interfaces or IEEE 1394 FireWire.

For each camera, a light source would be required again so that the bugs can be seen even in the dark. A LED light with a single color or diode lasers can be used. Then, use reflective tape on the target post.

After setting things up, you’ll be able to see the shadows of bugs flying around the fence. At this point, you will need to spot pixels that are darker than others and matching them to objects.

Some software can even do a more accurate job of even identifying velocity, flight paths, and even calculate predictions on where the insect will be. You can download the OpenCV library here.

Remember, mosquitoes are about 2 centimeters or less. So if you don’t want to shoot at other bugs such as bees, make sure to set it to avoid pixels larger than 2 centimeters.

Next, you will need a galvanometer so the laser can be steered around and easily maneuvered. High-quality ones can provide agility with no skipping and fluctuation, but these are definitely more expensive. Thankfully, low-cost ones are also available.

As for the laser, if you’re using this in your backyard and if you aren’t an expert, it’s best to opt for an eye-safe laser. Unfortunately, eye-safe lasers that are powerful enough to kill mosquitoes are quite costly.

There are near-infrared fiber lasers, and ultraviolet lasers that are eye-safe, but these are high-priced, too. So if you want a cheaper laser option, you might want to get safety goggles  to be safe.

When you’re done aligning and setting up the units, do a check on safety. Check the settings and make sure that it won’t fire at anything sized more than 2 centimeters.

The video below shows how the Photonic Fence works.

Where to buy a laser mosquito killer?

Let’s be realistic, for the average joe, making a photonic fence by yourself is far too difficult of a task even after reading the step by step instructions. If you’re not an expert at that field, it’s mostly just gibberish and abstract ideas.

So it’s more feasible for people to just purchase this technology rather than attempting to build it at home. Unfortunately, the whole contraption isn’t exactly available in the market just yet.

According to Myhrvold from Intellectual Ventures, the hazards of the technology are being corrected. Obviously, there are problems with this technology that need to be perfected.

Again, as mentioned before, there are some issues regarding safety. In addition, making this more budget-friendly is also another obstacle that needs to be addressed.

Until all the details are ironed out, and the device is perfected, I doubt that they will be releasing this into the market any time soon. But I do have my hopes up because they have been working on this for many years now! Another option is ultrasonic pest repellers which send signals to scare pests away. Read more

Check out Nathan Myhrvold’s TED Talk below. Definitely a hopeful view on using technology to solve serious problems such as malaria.

Last update on 2020-03-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

  • Updated February 21, 2020
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