Breakthroughs Still Happen

>> Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In this era of apps and ipads, there’s still plenty of room for technology that makes a meaningful difference in our lives – in some surprising ways. VP Planner Jacob Braude shares a story that you'll be thinking about when it gets warmer, and you're enjoying the great outdoors again!

Take it away, Jacob.

I read a piece in the NY Times a couple of weeks ago about a former chief technology officer for Microsoft named Nathan Myhrvold who recently unveiled a new piece of technology; he and his group somehow figured out how to design a machine that shoots down mosquitoes with lasers. So already we’re in “Minority Report” level coolness, but it gets better.

The entire machine was built with components that they bought on eBay. Technology that guides laser printers was coupled with image-detecting devices from digital cameras and image processing software. The prototype machine could shoot down anywhere from 50-100 mosquitoes per second and if it made it to production they speculate that it could cost as little as $50.

The coolest part for me was that it is so precise it only targets female mosquitoes. They’re the ones who bite, and it’s more efficient to leave the males alone. If you want to see a video of the laser at work, check it out here (it almost makes you feel sorry for the little blood suckers).

We talk a lot about Wellness here on this blog, but usually what we mean is how our choices affect our Wellness, and how we can help guide those choices towards better behaviors.

Given the role of mosquitoes in the spread of life-threatening disease (not to mention sanity-threatening itchiness), this seemed like a rare opportunity, like the discovery of a treatment for a previously incurable disease, to highlight a triumph of human ingenuity to help improve Wellness for all of us.


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