This $199 laser pointer points out mosquitos without harming them – TechCrunch

Mosquitoes kill more people than any other creature in the world, and there is no shortage of potential technical solutions. One such solution comes from Bzigo, which markets a device that finds mosquitoes in your home, points them with a laser and can notify you on your phone when there’s a buzz.

As I wander the halls at CES, I often find the odd company where I have to push my pessimism deep. It turns out that “walking” those halls virtually – after TechCrunch announced that we were not in person – doesn’t protect your friendly reporter from a weird moment like “Wait, what?” In the context of a trade fair. In this case, the magic of pointing a mosquito with a laser pointer is a very nice technical challenge, and I can totally see how this can be the first step along the way towards producing an independent mosquito repellent.

The device itself consists of a light source (infrared LED), a wide-angle HD camera and enough electronic brains crammed into the small package to do the rest. The artificial intelligence built into the device, according to the company, can tell the difference between a human’s worst friend and a piece of dust, by analyzing potential pest movement patterns.

I could let all that excitement slip into the (virtual) hustle and bustle of the CES show floor, but there are two problems.

The first problem is that the device doesn’t actually do anything to get rid of bugs, it just sends a notification to your phone that it’s time to get rid of a nerf gun (or whatever your favorite method of getting rid of mosquitos is), and the dots in the little plane don’t fit anything with little From the red laser pointer. The company assured me that it was a “completely safe” Class 1 laser. I can see why the company chose to do this – I can’t imagine the legal and health risks involved in using a laser powerful enough to drive skaters to where they came from. But this also presents a fundamental question about this product.

“Locating mosquitoes is the real challenge; killing mosquitoes is the easy part,” says Benjamin Resnick, product manager at Bzigo, referring to the company’s demo video. “Once Bzigo uses its laser pointer to show you where it has landed, you can easily kill the mosquito yourself. .”

I must admit, as someone who grew up in a country where mosquitoes are the size of tiny propeller planes, I can’t say I’ve faced this specific challenge before.

The second – and most worrisome – problem with the product is that the company plans to ship what it has so far as a consumer-facing product. Bzigo claims that thousands of customers have booked orders for the $199 device, with the product launching and being delivered to pre-order customers “later this year.”

My most heartfelt compliments to any marketing team of any company that can sell thousands of mosquito engraving laser pointers for $199, but in the grand scheme of things, they are basically a useless product. Auricular mosquitoes (i.e. feeding at dawn and dusk) – when people are less likely to be awake to look for mosquitoes. And there is indeed a surprisingly effective solution: Long-lasting bed nets and insecticides (LLINs) are a simple and cost-effective solution to protect families from malaria while they sleep. They cost $10, delivered completely, and form a physical barrier against malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and the insecticides woven into the nets kill mosquitoes before they can transmit disease from one person to another.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a nerd person like the next guy, and I love a good science experiment or a creative model. My question: Does the economic and environmental impact of shipping thousands of fancy laser pointers around the world – all of which will always find their way to landfills in the next 10 years, without killing a single mosquito or saving a single life – really outweigh the benefits?

I am looking forward to a version of this product that has some kind of mosquito killing technology. Until that happens, I hope the founders will rethink their plan to ship this prototype as a consumer product. There are a lot of real problems that are worth solving; Putting a silent delirium laser show late at night for a few mosquitos isn’t it.

Read more about CES 2022 at TechCrunch

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