CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again


Watch a laser gun kill mosquitoes

Nathan Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures creates a laser, from parts bought on eBay, that kills mosquitoes.

You can actually find useful things on eBay.

This has undoubtedly been proven by an extremely clever person, Nathan Myhrvold. At the TED 2010 conference, Myhrvold revealed that his invention company, Intellectual Ventures, had developed a mean, heartless, and very sophisticated laser gun, one that might remind you of your favorite science fiction movie. (Which, in my case, is "Galaxy Quest.")

This laser gun has, unlike so many other guns, a rather positive purpose. It kills mosquitoes. It zaps them like the deadly little flying worms that they are.

In fact, on the Intellectual Ventures site, there is some mind- and body-blowing footage of a mosquito being dispatched to its Hades by this gun. (I have embedded it here because it's just so mesmerizing.)

One of the more ingenious aspects to this fine Death Star creation is that it was made from parts bought on eBay and other similar sites. The components largely consisted of parts from such devices as laser printers, Blu-ray Disc writers, camcorders, and video game consoles.

You might wish you could use parts from eBay to destroy all sorts of other deadly beings, like, I don't know, those weird people who live next door. But malaria-carrying mosquitoes are particularly nasty beings. A child dies of malaria every 43 seconds. And though there are cures and nets, some of those cures have, according to Intellectual Ventures, actually made the disease more resilient.

Myhrvold's company is lucky in that some of the extremely large brains in its employ worked on the Star Wars defense planning in the 1980s. As the company itself put it: "For them, the idea of using lasers to shoot mosquitoes was one of those 'it's so crazy, it just might work!' ideas."

One can only hope Intellectual Ventures finds a way to make this wonderful creation cost-effective so that it can show those mosquitoes just what a little Star Wars can do for the improvement of the human condition.