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Man vs mozzie: Tech firm develops laser to track and target mosquitoes

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The laser system identifies mosquitoes using their movement patterns
The laser system identifies mosquitoes using their movement patterns   -   Copyright  AP
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In the battle of man versus mosquito (a fight more often than not won by the latter), humankind is being handed a weapon in the shape of a laser system that tracks the pests and alerts homeowners to their presence.

Israeli technology company Bzigo's system follows the insects with a red laser beam and sends a text alert via mobile phone to householders, letting them know where the mosquito can be found.

Co-founder Nadav Benedek explains: "Once you have a mosquito in your room, we show you a laser beam around a mosquito, so you know where it is.

"And we also send you a mobile notification to your phone. So, if you're in a different room, you can know that there is a mosquito, for example, in the children's room."

At this stage, users of the system would still need to deal with the mosquito once it has been located – however, an update is already being planned.

"So, the first generation is basically the radar, the locator. Next generations will also kill mosquitoes autonomously," says Benedek.

The device, which can be placed in any room, comprises a sensor and a special lens which receives high frequency video images. The images are processed, and the movement of the mosquitoes is analysed.

Benedek says the system took three years of studying mosquito movement to develop, and so is able to distinguish a mosquito from a dust particle or a person in the room.

The device is expected to hit markets in 2020, with an estimated price of €152 ($169) and the company has already received hundreds of pre-orders.

According to the World Health Organisation, malaria caused 438,000 deaths in 2015.

Benedek adds: "Besides killing people, you have a lot of diseases and annoyance caused by mosquitoes like the zika, the dengue fever, chikungunya (virus) and so on. Even if you lose 20 minutes of your sleep, that's worth a lot of money if we can solve that problem."