It seemed inevitable that Bill Gates would one day build a killer laser. But who would have guessed that it would be for killing mosquitoes?
The Weapon of Mosquito Destruction (WMD), developed by astrophysicists and former Microsoft exec Nathan Myhrvold, is a handheld laser that can locate mosquitoes and kill them individually by detecting the audio frequency of their beating wings. Once the laser hits its target, the mosquito’s wings are burnt to a crisp and its carcass falls to the ground.
The WMD isn’t quite ready for prime-time–scientists working on the project have yet to fine-tune the laser’s strength so that it doesn’t fry surrounding insects or humans–but it could eventually shield entire villages or even be fired from patrolling aircraft. Cost will likely be a barrier, however, since developing communities with limited resources often need protection from malaria the most.
In the meantime, there are plenty of low-tech malaria-fighting solutions available, including mosquito nets, vaccinations, and cheap mosquito traps.