Video: Long-Awaited Mosquito-Killing Laser in Action

Can lasers end the scourge?
A mosquito gets its head fried Intellectual Ventures

Lasers can already track and hopefully shoot down missiles, so perhaps it was inevitable that humans would turn that power against the airborne bloodsucker threat. Scientists from the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory showed their lasers tracking mosquitoes live during the TED 2010 conference, and also unveiled the awesome laser pew-pew effect in a new video. See the smoking hot results for yourself.

Mosquitoes have proven notoriously difficult to eradicate en masse. That’d only be annoying if they didn’t also spread the deadly disease malaria, which kills a child roughly every 43 seconds. The problem prompted Intellectual Ventures to craft its mosquito-zapping device from parts purchased on eBay, and it’s currently examining the cost-effectiveness of deploying such devices to Africa and other malaria-stricken regions.

Such a eye-catching solution may not pan out, given that there’s still no news on cost or even safety — the actual laser zapping was restricted to the video rather than the live TED demo. But with pharmaceutical companies desperately open-sourcing the cure for malaria and scientists testing whether the insects can transmit a malaria vaccine, we figure any proven lethal method is worth a shot.

[via Wired]