Astrophysicist Lowell Wood worked on the hydrogen bomb and Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" defense system to protect the US from Soviet missiles using lasers.
Now, Wood and colleagues at Intellectual Ventures have a plan to protect mankind from a far worse enemy, the mosquito. Behold, a "mosquito flashlight" that knock out the bug's eye-like sensor:
On the shelf were five Maglite flashlights, a zoom lens from a 35mm camera, and the laser itself -- a little black box with an assortment of small lenses and mirrors. On the floor below sat a Dell personal computer that is the laser's brain.
A mosquito hovers into view. Suddenly, it bursts into flame. A thin plume of smoke rises as the mosquito falls. At the bottom of the screen, the carcass smolders.
Not only can the laser target a mosquito, it can also tell a male from a female based on wing-beat.