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Bite this! Handheld device sniffs out bedbugs

Bed Bug Detective works like a dog's nose to find the hidden creepy pests and their eggs so you can toss your sheets in the drier--or run screaming out of the house.

Bed Bug Detective
The Bed Bug Detective sniffs out the insects' pheromones. Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

Look out bedbugs. Technology is out to get you--again. Decades ago, using chemical pesticides, humanity seemed to have conquered the scourge of little bugs that were nibbling away at us while we slept, sometimes even while we were having nightmares about them. Then, about 10 years ago, after we discovered that pesticides were doing more than just wiping out bedbugs, they started to come back with a vengeance, like a bygone sci-fi franchise re-emerging to produce some lackluster prequels.

But while the nasty pests were busily frolicking from hotel rooms in Denver to movie theaters in New York, inventor Chris Goggin was having none of it. He designed a handheld bedbug detector that essentially works likes a dog's nose to literally sniff out the notoriously tiny and hard-to-find insects and their eggs.

Bedbugs don't carry any scary diseases, but the very concept of little bugs in your bed is just plain creepy and the bites can be itchy and irritating and prone to infection if not properly cleaned or treated, just like any other bug bite. All the more onerous is the fact that the creeps can normally be tricky to track down because they tend to hide in cracks and crevices, but Goggin's gadget leaves them nowhere to hide, instantly detecting their scent so you can toss your sheets in the drier to fry the little critters--or move to another county.

The device is programmed to identify bedbug pheromones in the air just like the trained dogs used by some exterminators. But trained dogs can be a costly proposition running into the tens of thousands of dollars a year to keep healthy and in good practice. Goggin, a mechanical engineer and former product developer, plans to put his handheld device on sale soon for about $200.

Goggin's service to humanity was noted with a 2011 Invention Award from Popular Science, and I'll wager he's also completely forgotten how that old rhyme about "sleeping tight" ends. Here's Goggin demonstrating with his prototype: