Mankind’s greatest enemy is tiny, brown, and very hard to catch. But now researchers have developed a new weapon which they hope will finally give them the edge they need to defeat the aggressors. It’s a battle which has been raging for centuries – an army of blood – sucking creatures just six millimeters long on the attack against enormous opponents. A single bite from this insect can be lethal, and some 6, 00,000 people die every year as a result. The enemy is the malaria carrying Anopheles female mosquito, and the tropical disease it transmits is often fatal, especially in the developing countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Without treatment, malaria can kill in a matter of days.
How: When a mosquito flies to an area protected by a photonic fence – for example a school, hospital or village – cameras on both fence posts detect the intruder’s shadow in the light between the posts. The system immediately fires a non-lethal laser beam at the insect and uses the reflected light to determine its size and the frequency at which its wings are beating. This information tells the system whether the intruder is an Anopheles mosquito and also identifies the insect’s gender. This is an important distinction to make because only female bite. Once the mosquito is confirmed as a female Anopheles, the system fires a second, lethal laser beam, shredding the insect in mid-flight.
All the components used in the fence come from inexpensive consumer electronics, a fact which will hopefully make the fence affordable in malaria-stricken regions.
‘Bloody one Mosquito’ – will be no more powerful…
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