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Raspberry Pi for Kill Mosquitoes by Laser (preprints.org)
343 points by ColinWright 70 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 250 comments

This work (I think) worked with the mosquitos 30cm away with a servo scanning Pi Camera (1080p) and a 1W laser.

To work in the real world - cover a whole room or terrace - presumably a much higher resolution camera (or much faster scanning system) would be required. Even a 1W laser is dangerous to eyesight, if it was being fired at targets mingling with people.

The system could be mounted on small drones that would patrol larger areas - but the idea of robotic drones armed with lasers roaming around is beginning to sound worse than the mosquitos.

Good luck detecting a mosquito optically from a distance of several meters using a cheap camera and Raspberry Pi. Oh and you want to do from a moving drone. That will certainly make it work!

Just look at the images in the article - the guy's best result was detecting a black speck appearing on a nearby white wall with some 60-70% reliability (based on his own numbers). So you would be missing a lot of mosquitoes - but will be happy firing the laser at random shadows and what not. And that was in a completely stationary setup and controlled lab conditions, i.e. not at all something resembling a typical poorly lit room!

This article is BS. Preprints are not peer reviewed (i.e. nobody has checked anything in it - so could even be a complete hoax), it is a pretty typical gadgetry style paper (we do it because we can, not because it makes sense) you do at when you need to fill up your resume with research papers (e.g. for keeping/obtaining a job reasons).

The "save the world" (mosquito control, diseases, etc.) justification is also par for the course for this type of crappy paper. Anyone who seriously thinks that one could control mosquito problem by shooting them one by one by a laser is delusional.

But neural networks and "AI" are being used, so it has to be cutting edge groundbreaking stuff, right?

BTW, this nonsense idea has been floated as a publicity stunt a few years ago (including a slow motion video of a laser burning off wing of a mosquito in flight) and it seems that some Russian PhD student from a fairly obscure uni either didn't do their research or has reinvented the wheel (or just plain copied the thing without attribution). The list of irrelevant or only very tangentially relevant (it is about mosquitoes, so in scope, right?) references is a dead giveaway there (paper on mosquitoes spreading zika? seriously?).

Here, it was even on National Geographic in 2010(!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKm8FolQ7jw

Oh and that was supposed to be a handheld device to boot. With the same "save the world from malaria" spiel too. I wonder what are the owners of the company that was pushing this concept to investors back then trying to sell today ...

There are actually multiple videos on Youtube showing products from different companies that were attempting to push this as some sort of viable concept.

>> This article is BS. Preprints are not peer reviewed (i.e. nobody has checked anything in it - so could even be a complete hoax), it is a pretty typical gadgetry style paper (we do it because we can, not because it makes sense) you do at when you need to fill up your resume with research papers (e.g. for keeping/obtaining a job reasons).

That describes about 80% of the field of machine learning today: that's how most new work in machine learning is presented to the community, through preprints on arxiv that never get published, therefore peer-reviewed; and most of it is of the "we did it because we can, not because it makes sense" type. The same goes for much of AI research in the past. Here's John McCarthy:

1. Much work in AI has the ``look ma, no hands'' disease. Someone programs a computer to do something no computer has done before and writes a paper pointing out that the computer did it. The paper is not directed to the identification and study of intellectual mechanisms and often contains no coherent account of how the program works at all.


(Take note that the above was written in 1973)

I'm prepared to bet that the exact same work could be published by a respectable research team (you know, with good English) and it would get many adulatory comments in social media (though I hope you would retain your skepticism).

> using a cheap camera

even if you had a RED Komodo feeding uncompressed 4K DCI 60fps video to a pci-express bus capture card, the sensor resolution and tiny size of mosquitoes means that unless the lighting conditions are just right, and the mosquito is somehow highlighted against a background, it's going to be very hard to pick them out at distances of 2 or more meters.

and that's before you get into the software problem of processing the fire hose of data that is 4096x2160 at 60fps raw. and the hardware cost of a very serious workstation class PC capable of taking the capture at 1:1 realtime.

possibly a lidar based sensor or something might be more suitable to locating the x/y/z position of mosquitoes in a few meter area.

Mosquitos, as we all know, have a highly distinctive auditory signature.

A phased microphone array is the only sensible approach to localized mosquito detection. It would probably work reasonably well.

The problem is that the entire field is patent encumbered, because Myhrvold's company Intellectual Ventures has done some research on it, and no on in their right mind would go up against those guys.

Why am I absolutely not surprised that somebody with a background at Microsoft is an intellectual property patent squatter?

Yeah, they already did sharks with lasers. IDK what the licensing terms are on that


Maybe some kind of audio resonance could be used to prevent then from flying or at least annoy them.

It would probably be louder than desired, though, unless ultrasonic.

A LIDAR is not the right solution. A LIDAR misses most of the space a few meters away, and even if by chance the beam passes right over a mosquito, it will be filtered out by the built-in denoising algorithms.

Would targeting the distinctive mosquito whine be feasible?

You could have several bluetooth mikes scattered around the room for good triangulation

Audio would surely be the way to go, IMO, although I would avoid Bluetooth and generally any non essential digital transport both because of latency and possible compression artifacts. One could trick the mosquitoes into flying through a small restricted area in which wires wouldn't pose a problem by making it the only possible way to some bait for example, then setting mikes and traps in there.

Or you could just spray RAID or something similar and kill all the mosquitoes there for pennies. No laser, no bluetooth, no microphones.

And if you want to actually solve the mosquito issue, don't have standing water around. Or make sure fish and frogs can live in it. They love eating mosquito larvae.

Not this boondoggle. Remember, engineering is also about realizing that the fact that you are able to do something doesn't always mean you should.

it's a good point

There’s a reason bats hunt by sonar instead of vision.

To be fair though, part of that is because they hunt at night.

There are a few places here in Sydney where you see a remarkable cloud of bats feeding in bright light - the lights over the harbour bridge and several of the tax buildings bordering the Botanic Gardens regularly have flocks of bats whirling around presumably attracted to all the insects flying in the bright lights...

There's lots of food that only comes out at night; if it weren't bats, some other predator species would have developed sonar to hunt them.

Bluetooth has too much latency, 50-100ms even quite optimistically. There are a lot better ways to have a custom solution.

Hmmmm, I wonder...

The paper claims "1 - 5mm" for a mosquito, which seems plausible. Lets pick 5mm out of pure optimism. The new(ism) HQ Raspberry Pi camera modules are 12megapixel ~4000x3000 pixel sensors, if you assume you could recognise a mosquito based on it's flight/movement pattern rather than needing to have an image of the mosquito, maybe having a 2x2 pixel resolution of it might be enough, so you could use an appropriate lens and cover a 5mm x 4000pixel / 2 = 10,000mm or 10m wide by 7.5m tall region. That seems totally do-able. Even up to 4x4 pixel per mosquito at 5m x 3.75m would happily cover the wall of my bedroom with the windows. You _might_ even be able to do that with the cheaper 8 megapixel V2 camera module instead of the HQ one.

The background subtraction is fairly easy to do in OpenCV. Assuming there's not too much moving in the background (I might need to tie back my curtains?) I wonder if the path a mosquito traces out would be distinct enough to detect?

Research (read "the first google hit) suggests mosquitos fly at 1.6-2.4kmh - call it 2 - which is just over half a meter per second, so about 20mm per frame at 25fps, or 8mm per frame at 60fps. If we choose to use the 4px = ~5mm numbers from above, that means if you detect a thing that might be a mosquito, you don't need to search very far around it in the subsequent frame to track it - if it's a mosquito, it's likely to be still there and within 6 or 7 px of where it was in the previous frame. (I've never tried doing this on something so small, but that technique works really well tracking people across multiple frames in a video. See: https://data-flair.training/blogs/python-project-real-time-h... )

I don't think that at least x,y detection of a mosquito in a 12 or 8 megapixel camera is impossible. The 8MP raspi camera has a 63deg horizontal field of view, so that 5m wide assumed view from earlier would be at 5m distance give or take. If you could get your shoot-down laser close enough to your detection camera, you might not need to care about the z axis. The camera module is about 20mm square - at 5m range shooting the laser across the edge of the camera module pcb might be "close enough"? Might not work at short range, though once you're close you could scan the bean around a bit, it'll be super obvious in the camera view when you've got a hit (assuming the background doesn't;t reflect the laser brighter that a lit up mosquito? Great, now I have an excuse to paint my walls with VantaBlack...)

Another idea... Assume a similar setup - a camera aimed at a 5x3.75m cross section of space, with a line laser shining across it (one of those lasers shone through a cylinder that makes a line, like some power tools use to project guidelines). I'd guess it'd be possible (maybe even easy) to distinguish between dust mites and mosquitos lighting up as they cross the line laser? Perhaps have three co-planar line lasers 10mm or 20mm apart to make the timing of aiming your shoot-down laser easier, use the first flash as a detection signal and swivel your galvos to that region, and then use the 2nd/3rd flashes close by to quickly fine tune the aim without needing to swing too far?

(Now I just need to work out which if any of my half finished projects I should stop working on and half finish this one... ;-) )

Great post. I think line laser though is just a point source that spins, creating an illusion of a plane. So it only looks like a line but is actually a moving point. So if the mosquito travels its own length+the line thickness in a time that is less than the time between laser passes, it won't be touched by the laser.

Maybe some line lasers are made like that (now that you mention it I do recall seeing tripod mounted lasers which are probably spinning POV things), but I’ve got a bunch of line and cross laser modules which 100% do not have moving parts. I’m not sure why I think this, but I understand they’re made by just putting a glass cylinder in front of the laser diode module, working as a kind of 2D lens... Pretty sure that’s what you get in jigsaws and circular saws as well?

All you say is so true...

That would make you a spoil sport, burst my bubble... I am going to have a little cry in the corner now.

I really wanted a AI powered, laser equipped, mosquito hunting drone for my house. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

You know, you could use a bioreactor-powered neural-net driven drone to hunt them, if you kept a small bat as a pet.

Shrug, add a nice zoom lens to make it's effective range several meters instead. Of course it would be far sighted but maybe you know most mosquitos will be several meters away anyway. Or have 3 cameras, one for the cm, one for the m and one able to zoom many meters to look at known problem spots like puddles or a bird bath.

Or use a better method than a cheap camera. Like a radar and microphone like the other more famous project does. Because mosquitos have a distinct frequency of flapping their wings. Meaning you can then actually target the biting type. Because .. 95% of the mosquitos around actually do not sting humans(number from the back of my head from a friends paper some years ago). And killing them all has a quite negative impact on biological diversity.

An alternative solution would be to genetically engineer bigger mosquitoes.

This is why I should not be in charge of anything.

Be sure to include some laser-resistant capabilities in the engineered mosquitoes, so that consumers will be forced to buy upgrades to more powerful lasers.

"Assume a perfectly spherical mosquito of uniform density..."

I'm sure there's an XKCD similar in spirit to your idea; if not, there should be.

Yes, at 300mm range, it's just a toy, and mounting a 1W laser with a targeting system on a drone is a terrible idea. I can see ways to make this work, though.

You need a good way to tell that you're on target. The way to do that is to use the vision system only as a search radar, to find that there's something to shoot at and approximately where it is. Then point the laser near the target, at low power, and start scanning around the target. Modulate the outgoing beam, so you can see when it's illuminating something. Get range from time of flight. When you find something worth shooting, go to high power and take it out.

This is roughly how radar-controlled anti-aircraft gun systems work.

An ordinary UV lamp with bug zapper will probably be more effective.

> An ordinary UV lamp with bug zapper will probably be more effective.

Alas, as I discovered recently when looking at those nifty, cheap, USB-powered UV + fan mosquito killers -- mosquitoes aren't attracted to UV.

Evidently they are attracted to CO2 and warmth, which are a bit harder to generate at 5V, sadly.

There are some blog posts about building mosquito traps that generate CO2, I think they use yeast to do it and can be pretty effective!

I saw those videos. The problem is the maintenance, adding yeast and cleaning the trap. Imagine scaling to multiple traps in a house or the garden.

On the other side, burning methane generates CO2: CH4 + 2 O2 → CO2 + 2 H2O. Methane is distributed nearly everywhere in my country for cooking and heating. That at least solves the problem of refilling.

I guess we should burn a very small amount of methane to lure mosquitoes into those traps. But how about climate change etc.?

> Imagine scaling to multiple traps in a house or the garden.

If you have a mosquito problem, refilling your traps is the least of your worries.

(These types of traps are commercially available and quite effective.)

You could possibly compost, which already is generating CO2 in your garden, and arrange it into a trap

> You need a good way to tell that you're on target. The way to do that is to use the vision system only as a search radar, to find that there's something to shoot at and approximately where it is. Then point the laser near the target, at low power, and start scanning around the target. Modulate the outgoing beam, so you can see when it's illuminating something. Get range from time of flight. When you find something worth shooting, go to high power and take it out.

Not only more effective, but i imagine it would be easy to misdetect someone's iris as a fly D:

"Do not look in laser bean with remaining eye."

> Good luck detecting a mosquito optically from a distance of several meters using a cheap camera and Raspberry Pi.

Same thought as well. They must not have done the math on the optics... You'd have a much better chance using an acoustic array (mosquitoes put out a very distinctive sonic frequency), or even better an array of radar modules. There is simply too much noise and data in the visible spectrum to catch something that small without expensive optics and an expensive processor to process all of those pixels.

This. Acoustic array sounds like a great solution for finding that pesky mosquitto that is hiding somewhere in the room. Anyone know how difficult it would be to make this?

Well, you can get a radial acoustic 7 array of MEMS microphones for ~$50, doing stuff with the output is the hard part. That being said, I've used one to localisation the direction that lightning is coming from. Have no idea how good the accuracy would be, but there's likely large room for optimization in that setup; it likely just comes down to the accuracy of the microphones.

I personally would go with the radar route; it's slightly more expensive that the acoustic route, but accuracy would be fantastic, even at a distance.

> This article is BS.

it's literally called ``Raspberry PI for Kill Mosquitoes by Laser'' not quite sure what you were expecting

With a proper lens I think it just might work. You need to get huge focal length to make those pixels work. Then you need illumination because with those focal length it will be really dim. Then you need to scan the area because your FOV is tiny (but at least you'll get something like 90FPS @VGA res which is enough for AI) so you should be able to see those mosquitoes shining in the air like dust particles in sunlight coming from the window.

But then using a laser just insane - anything that has enough energy to down a mosquito will have enough energy to blind someone unfortunate to see the laser or its reflection. I'd go with power LED and some focusing with very narrow focal depth. maybe a lens moved like in optical drives, maybe a MEMS reflector like are used in projectors (but instead of spreading all pixels to cast a projection focusing it in a single point?

I've integrated a few laser engravers and laser-cutting CNCs, so let me clear up a couple misconceptions: Lasers typically have a narrow focal length, just like your LED proposal - otherwise they'd damage the optics/mirrors! They're designed to pass a coherent beam of about 10mm diameter through a series of lenses and mirrors. The beam of an engraver might carry 10W of power in that diameter, which is pretty bright, but decent lenses or mirrors with high transmission and reflection won't be damaged. It's safe for both skin and optics until, say, 100mm after it goes through the primary lens. Hopefully at the surface of the thing you're cutting or engraving, it's a spot size of 0.1mm! With 10W of power in that tiny area, even exotic antireflective glass that can transmit 99% of the light will be atomized.

If the thing you're cutting/engraving isn't present, then 100mm past the focal plane, it's back to 10mm diameter, and 100mm after that, it's 20mm, and just continues dissipating. It's really pretty hard to focus it back into a coherent beam sufficiently narrow to damage eyesight (much less skin).

Yes, the CDRH is really concerned about the possibility of a laser system accidentally lasing a blob of metal into a perfect mirror that will send a coherent beam directly into the eye of an operator standing meters away; I've got laser systems with thousands of hours on them etching reflective foil off of plastic and there's no sign of reflections causing damage to the smoked acrylic that's shrouding the operation.

The typical mechanism used to drive laser engravers is more like a HDD actuator that moves the read/write heads - it's called a galvanometer. Basically a mirror on a stick connected to a magnet. A voice coil pulls the magnet +/- 10 degrees or so; They've got sub-millisecond response times so hitting a moving mosquito would be no problem!

I propose that you suck the mosquitoes through an enclosure with something like a box fan or duct booster. Make sure the entrance and exit has to go through a couple right angles so your laser optics are never visible to someone outside the box. Backlight the inside of the box so that instead of AI to see whether the thing in your camera FOV is a mosquito or a songbird really far away, you just zap any black mosquito-sized blobs that pass through.

I just played a bit with CNC engraving and laser projection, so don't have that extensive knowledge, but AFAIK:

Even with your example of 10W, 10mm beam it has a bit more than 0.12 W/mm^2. Hundred times the power output from the sun. Even if we use a 1W laser, which should be enough for a mosquito, it's still like looking into the sun with a 10x magnifier.

And as you said - you focus the spot in 0.1mm with a small focal length - that's great for cutting or engraving but won't deliver enough energy to a mosquito 5 meters away unless you start with the same beam size, then focus it 5 meters away at the target. Only then it will need another 5 meters for the beam to return to the initial diameter and many more times that to finally be safe.

What I propose is a big reflector and aiming optics directed at it(a bit like a satellite antenna). I didn't do the math, but tens of centimetres or even more than a meter of dimeter. Let's say 50cm==500mm.

Then if you want to focus it to 5mm at 5 meters it will have less than 10mm at +-5cm. You could do the same with a laser but you just don't need to. Instead of 1W laser you can use a 10W powerled, have the same energy at the target but it will be much safer at almost every stage before it.

And what most people think about when they talk about shooting mosquitoes with a laser is, I think, sending a coherent 5mm beam directly - e.g. from a laser pointer. So you don't have to estimate the distance, but it is even more dangerous.

> But then using a laser just insane ... I'd go with power LED and some focusing with very narrow focal depth. maybe a lens moved like in optical drives, maybe a MEMS reflector like are used in projectors (but instead of spreading all pixels to cast a projection focusing it in a single point?

haven't you just described how to make a laser?

No a laser is coherent. It has almost the same intensity in it's entire path. If you know the approximate distance you can accurately focus a normal beam of Light into that area. Killing the bug but much safer.

This would protect people standing behind the bug, but if the system mistakenly identified an eye as a bug you would still be delivering a burning quantity of energy focussed on the eye.

Thanks for teaching me something

> This article is BS

Not completely BS for me. I have actually learned something:

> The size of a mosquito can vary from 1 mm to 5 mm, this is the main criterion for the method of detection and retrieval of mosquito coordinates. When monitoring the position of the mosquito with ultrasound, it is necessary to use several sensors in different places and processing their information to calculate the location, which theoretically is suitable only for detecting one mosquito, but if there are several mosquitoes, the device will not work correctly. The temperature of the body of a mosquito due to its cold blood is like the temperature of the environment. With a very high resolution of the thermal imager, the mosquito temperature will differ insignificantly against the background - on the order of 0.1 C. The use of sonar has several difficulties when working in open areas where it is necessary to use sonar with a narrow beam and a narrow radiation pattern.

tl;dr, ultrasonic/infra-red/sonar don't work either.

The way to do this is to attract the mosquitoes by slowly letting out a bunch of CO2, that way you need to search a much smaller area.

> BTW, this nonsense idea has been floated as a publicity stunt a few years ago [...] Here, it was even on National Geographic in 2010(!)

The paper cites even earlier stuff:

> For the first time, the idea of using a laser to protect against insects was expressed in the early 1980s by American astrophysicist Lowell Wood.

I think you basically described my feelings when reading the paper. Thanks for this comment!

I can think of an alternative, not sure whether that would be practical, but it's possibly safer than laser: instead of shooting laser, make a turret that shoots (biodegradable, edible) soap water at the mosquitoes, in the smallest dose necessary to make the mosquito's wings stick. It would require some fluid-aerodynamics and projectile motion calculation, however.

It would probably be too slow (or you'd need crazy high pressure). The mosquito would have plenty of time tom ove out of the way, especially since it will probably make a sound when shooting the liquid. The advantage of using a laser is that it's basically instant and quiet.

You think a mosquito can dodge a speeding blob of water? It can barely dodge stationary objects. It's basically a homing missle for co2

Depends on the mosquito I would say. I used to train martial art skills by catching mosquitos midflight.

Most are indeed very lethargic, but there are some much more agile variants out there.

I assume you used sticks, karate kid style? :)

Sometimes.(but I actually did not watch karate kid) But mostly just with hands. I still do it as a habit ..

Or was it The Revenge of the Nerds?

not a bad idea… something manually controlled but otherwise similar already exists, the "bug-a-salt" gun. https://www.bugasalt.com

Where are you supposed to use this? Indoors it will corrode your plumbing and outdoors it will kill your plants.

A few grams of sodium chloride is not going to destroy your plumbing or your landscaping. Your plumbing is in daily contact with sodium chloride from the food we eat, the sodium chloride that is in municipal water supplies, and it is a common substance to be found outdoors as well, including soil.

You don’t want to put kilograms of it in your garden, but this device is not consuming anywhere close to that amount of salt. It holds about the quantity of a salt shaker of salt, and can be fired 80 times from that amount.

Well that's where the Roomba carrying a tray of margaritas comes in.

If one could be made to shoot fine sand, it could be used outside I bet.

Use a garden hose, cover the whole area

Even better, a fire hose. It's the only way to be sure.

Since we've got a firehose, might as well light it up first.

problem solved! whew

I think the problem with that would be, that there would be a huge damp patch on the ground where a million mosquitoes would lay their eggs..

Omg, people take these comments seriously ?

On Hacker News? Someone has probably already tried it. Possibly even more than one person — I mean, the linked paper isn’t even the first time I’ve seen research into the idea of anti-mosquito lasers, so anti-mosquito water cannons have probably been tried too.

Plain water doesn't work. They just bounce droplets off [0]. My experiments with garden hose and some mosquitoes during watering my garden confirm those findings. Maybe water with soap will work better (due to lower surface tension, droplets will envelop mosquitoes) but I did not try this.

[0] https://www.livescience.com/20733-mosquitoes-survive-raindro...

Guilty as charged.


How well/badly dd it work?

Where's the blog post?


I didn't think it worthy of a write up. The ML part that made it a bit more interesting was to keep the bees alive but to get the wasps (I'm allergic to wasps), and I couldn't get it to reliably differentiate between the two so it never hit 'production'.

Salt also works.

I agree, there needs to be multiple orders of magnitude improvements in HW&SW, as well as domain specific dataset development for this to work at all. I can imagine using a very accurate image segmentation algo to analyze the background and thereby prevent shooting lasers at vulnerable targets, but it's still hard to see how this is a good idea.

A 1W laser is even more dangerous than you say. It is powerful enough to start wood fires.

1 W laser is in the “a diffuse reflection can do damage” safety class. It’s the kind of laser where you lock doors to the optics lab to prevent people without eye protection accidentally entering when the laser is in operation.

Having a computer point-and-shoot one at random directions in free air is just madness. There is zero discussion of human safety of such a system in the paper.

> the idea of robotic drones armed with lasers roaming around is beginning to sound worse than the mosquitos.

I don't really mind mosquitos outdoors, what I really hate is when I'm trying to sleep and there is a mosquito in the room. This means I have to turn the light bright on and spend time hunting them down or fill the room wit a toxic insecticide gas.

I would rather leave the room (or stay there with my eyes covered - to serve as a bait for the mosquitos), activate the robot and come back when it's done.

When I am in high spirits, I am able to catch them in the dark by their sound. But failing to succed in that for a couple of times, makes my high spirit go away very fast and wanting a auto laser turret, too.

Now imagine trying to sleep in a room that has a multi-rotor drone hunting mosquitos...

Or shoot only horizontally at 1 cm from the ceiling. Sooner or later the mosquito/fly will be there as wellOr shoot only horizontally at 1 cm from the ceiling. Sooner or later the mosquito/fly will be there as well

If you are assuming a drone, I feel like it would be more far, far more effective to just fly the drone into the mosquitoes and chop them up, than to have the drones individually pinpoint 1 mosquito at a time with a laser.

Yeah, this doesn't really scale.

For safety, I think using multiple coordinated laser sources would be better (making them all converge at a single point). That, plus obviously a wavelength not dangerous for our eyesight.

Angular precision is an issue, but one could probably go around it by using a closed-loop control system that targets before increasing the power.

Targeting is hard as well, if you want a reliable system, there's probably no alternative to sensor fusion (sound, active infrared range-meter, maybe radar & ultrasound).

In the end, it's probably overkill compared to a trap, but the challenges are interesting.

I'd prefer an indoor 'killer drone'. Something like a little quadcopter, remote controlled in realtime to the target by whichever means, shredding it with one of its rotors.


One solution would be to lure mosquitos to a container or location and then zap them.

Honeypot those little buggers.

I think lamps surrounded by charged coils do decent job of passively zapping mosquitoes since they zap themselves practically.

Mosquitos are not particularly attracted to light, they use CO2 and body odour to find their prey.

I started thinking about something similar last summer to deal with aggressive flies from a nearby farm.

Perhaps it's possible to make something that's kinda safe for eyesight if you make it track and light up the fly/mosquito for e.g. 50 seconds instead of 0.5 seconds.

Did you try a fly trap jar yet?

You hang it out behind a shed or garage, the lid has a little maze that they crawl into and then they can't find their way out.

My parents always used https://www.bigstinkyflytrap.com/ . It definitely caught a lot of flies, which can be different than catching enough flies of course.

We had a small but persistent issue with flies hanging out by our garbage cans so I purchased one of these fly traps with bait.

It worked far too well.

Within a day it had attracted flies from a large surrounding area. The nearly filled jar of flies had a presence I can only describe as "Stephen King-esque" just buzzing with raw malevolence. If you think one large black fly can make quite the noise I invite you to listen to a 1000+ angry flies in a jar.

And while many were certainly capture - an equally abhorrent number were all over the cans and the side of the house. So a mixed experience.

I had the exact same experience it was absolutely disgusting. I attracted all flies from the neighborhood.

I also tried once with an insecticide which also contained a bait, it came in granules and you had to mix with water and spray all over. The floor of my outdoors where full of dead flies.

Best advice I can give: never use any kind of bait. That’s completely BS, you are never going to kill them all. You want flies to go to another place, keep things clean.

Flies hate wind, use fans.

My coworker once had one very annoying fly, he was trying to sleep but that fly constantly was landing on him. He turned fan and directed it on bed, so fly couldn't land on him. Now, that little bugger landed just beside of airflow area and just walked to him.


The method I devised to get rid of these large black flies from indoors:

Open a door and simply herd/walk them out by making yourself big. It's surprisingly easy - so much easier than trying to swat them. They seem to instinctively avoid things moving towards them, and because of that they're pretty easy to herd.

Relatedly - if you need to get a light-seeking insect (such as a moth) out of a room, you can just turn off all the lights and open the window. In general, people look at you like a wizard when you exploit the behavior of a creepy-crawly to get it to do what you want. For example you can catch a spider quite easily by placing a drinking glass in front of it and nudging its behind. It will panic-run forward into the glass.

I'm sure there's a fantastic book published in like 1878 containing these tips and lots more we haven't thought of yet.

Target “shooting” with a canister vacuum provides a decent fun:efficiency ratio.

That's a fun idea - I'll try it this this upcoming summer.

Just make sure to block their exit when you put the vacuum away.

That's when you go out there with a shopvac with a long extension tube; they're already gathered for you. Maybe finish with a long shot of insecticide, then just plug the intake hose into the exhaust port and let it sit for a few days.

Also, a mason jar with about a half inch of sugar water as bait and a sheet of letter size paper rolled into a cone with the small aperture in the jar works pretty well.

I'm in Sweden. That one doesn't seem to be sold in the EU. Interesting...

Or shoot only horizontally at 1 cm from the ceiling. Sooner or later the mosquito/fly will be there as well

Is there a wavelength that could blind mosquitos and not humans? Mosquitos aren't party to any blinding laser weapons convention, and while it wouldn't kill them they might not survive too long after being blinded.

They don't use their eyes to hunt, just to detect potential attackers.

Ah yeah, they aren't really swayed from finding meals by pitch black dark. It might make them more susceptible to predation but wouldn't be a solution for targeted small areas.

Other than just sensing CO2 and other chemicals they have some kind of way of sensing heat, but maybe that's separate from their eyes. If that is sensed radiatively that might be a good target for some kind of eye safe laser (if it is following thermal gradients in the air near the skin or something, not so much).

I share your concern, but mosquitoes do currently kill an awful lot of people.

Maybe you could detect them with a bunch of microphones and measure the time difference between sound arrival time.

Or at least that could tell a camera where to look.

Within a room I could see it being used in say only the top half a meter of the room. Bugs fly to the ceiling, eyeballs generally not

This is a nice little firestarter.

I've had this idea many years ago and my solution to that problem was to use two or more lasers of lower power that all shoot at the same point in 3 dimensional space. If you guess wrong then at least you won't set your house on fire (or blind someone).

The FAA might take objection too. Some places won't let you have lasers within a certain range of an airport. Also, what happens if the mosquito turret mistakes a 747 for a mosquito? Sounds like an effective way to blind pilots. Cool idea though, might be fun indoors if your house is fireproofed.

The FAA has no power in Africa.

I thought this was for indoors, outdoors mosquito is food for other animals. Also gotta be a sick 747 flying upside down.

The Boeing 707 famously did a barrel roll on its first public flight.

The problem with blinding pilots is actually reflections off clouds, which is not really intuitive.

oh, indeed it is not. Good thing I never put lasers outdoors.

> Sounds like an effective way to blind pilots.

Don't pilots have protective windows?

No, they don't, and in helicopters they even have windows in the floor.

Protected against weather and sunlights but not against dumb kids with eBay lasers yet

Then why don't terrorists and angry people use this?

Angry/stupid people do.

What they don't seem to work out is that they're drawing a super clear line in the sky directly back to themselves, and police in choppers have colleagues on the ground who are very happy to show up and arrest the guy with the laser...



Because there had never been actual deaths to it?

It has caused career-ending eye damage though - e.g. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/23/ba-pilots-eye-...

Even 1/4 watt is not something you want shined in your eye.

True, but 1 W to damage a mosquito is likely overkill.

I have a 1W laser. Aiming it at your hand and turning it on will immediately cause a painful burning sensation. I've never used it without goggles, but it will burn dang near anything you point it at.

The average laser pointer for a presentation, for reference, is less than .005 Watts (<5mW)

A laser used for CDR writing is already powerful enough. The big trick for mosquito hunting is to pulse a number of smaller lasers, briefly, synchronized and aiming for the same spot from different angles. That takes care of the fire and blinding damage but will still harm the much less solid mosquito.

You can do this with sound. A hybrid system even better.

I built tech ~10 years ago to track quiet, sound emitting objects in real time to sub CM resolution using microphone arrays. And in one demo I even had a laser pointer mounted on a 2 axis.... "swinging thingie" (sorry, I'm not a mech-E) which would constantly stay pointed on the loudest object in the room, as it moved. Fun stuff. Creepy even.

Shame I never found a use or a buyer for the tech. :/

EDIT: I bet an improved hybrid one would use sound to get within the right 1-2cm, with a zoom camera mounted on the pan/tilt apparatus to get it even more accurate.

Mosquitoes can’t fly against a slight breeze. Under a ceiling fan is a 2m radius they cannot physically enter because their top speed is below the wind speed.

Never thought I would even see the "Starwars Musquito Defense System" being actually developed :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSIWpFPkYrk

Fun fact: the same people who ran Reagan's Star Wars were behind the Intellectual Ventures photonic fence for mosquitoes.

Not automated but one of my all time favorite methods of taking out flies and wasps was the Bug-a-Salt. Guy had a fun idea, spent a ton to make it a reality and appears to still be making it many years on. Kudos to him.


I have one of these for killing black flies that wander into my house. It's not the most efficient way to kill flies I've found, but it's definitely the most satisfying.

Exactly. Sometimes fun wins!

Website redirects me to Google.

Viewers from 84 different countries are blocked from viewing the site because of reasons.


Not here. Try it without JS.

I just moved to a property near a pond that is severely infested with midge flies and mosquitos. The water is supposed to be treated by the HOA but they've neglected it for a while I guess. A solution like this wouldn't work due to the sheer volume of insects in the air at any given time (millions gathering around my block). I rigged up a door reed switch that turns on high power fans for 30 seconds when opened that helps keep them out of my house, but I'm trying to figure out a better solution to actually kill them around the clock. Thinking of controlling an electric pressurized washer with a pi and spraying swarms with a solution of water, soap and neem oil.

A fan that blows them into a metal mesh filter is sufficient. The fan keeps them stuck against the filter until they dehydrate and die. Propane is often used to attract them to the fan but that may not be necessary in your case.

There is a pond in my neighborhood that's not treated. The years I've used Mosquito Bits and Dunks, the mosquito population has crashed to tolerable levels. Bti is proven to work and totally safe for then environment. It's a small price to pay to be able to enjoy my backyard. If I ever move, my neighbors are going to miss my contribution.

One thing that helps is doing whatever you can to attract dragonflies. Planting bullrush is one way, I'm sure there are others.

Are you able to put some fish in the pond? They will eat the larva!

Throw a block of chlorine into the pond?

Mosquitos and many other aquatic based insects can be killed by a cup or so of vegetable oil on the water too

copper coins as well

Wow I didn’t know about this, but it looks like more than just an old wives tale. Is there a connection between killing mosquito larva and why we like to throw coins in a fountain for ‘good luck’?

Have you considered contacting your local vector control office? If it's just an ornamental pond rather than a natural waterway, mosquito fish are an option.

Look up propane mosquito traps.

have you considered putting up a bat box?

I have many bats under roof, often see them flying at night, but there are still many mosquitoes nearby (very slow water river about 1km from me). Bats help but will not remove problem entirely.

These kinds of things are really just intended to be a fun proof of concept or a demo of something off the wall for shits and giggles.

It's a bit of a leap to "You'll shoot your eye out" or "it'll never work in real life" because it was never meant to be anything more than that.

Personally, I think it's awesome!

I've had malaria many times. My friend's sister died from it. It is not a laughing matter.

That comment is so completely off the wall I'm just astounded.

Nowhere in that guy's post about how to make this silly gizmo did he make any kind of claim about reducing diseases of any kind spread by mosquitoes.

I don't know if you're blaming him for not preventing your friend's sister's death and you getting sick or mad at me because I didn't blame him.

But your complaint does make me wonder what you're doing to solve the malaria problem?

> These kinds of things are really just intended to be a fun proof of concept or a demo of something off the wall for shits and giggles.

I interpret this sentence to say the mosquito laser is an unserious project. Saying that something is "for shits and giggles" expresses a flippant attitude. My comment points out that malaria-fighting projects are extremely serious, even if they are ineffective first version tech demos.

> Nowhere in that guy's post about how to make this silly gizmo did he make any kind of claim about reducing diseases of any kind spread by mosquitoes.

The paper starts out with: "More than 700 thousand human deaths from mosquito bites are observed annually in the world. It is more than 2 times the number of annual murders in the world. In this regard, the invention of new more effective methods of protection against mosquitoes is necessary. In this article for the first time, comprehensive studies of mosquito neutralization using machine vision and a 1 W power laser are considered."

> But your complaint does make me wonder what you're doing to solve the malaria problem?

This is a strange thing to say. You are implying that a person who thinks a problem is serious should work toward solving that specific problem. This is not true. There are many serious problems in the world. Each person must make their own decisions about how to use their time, including how much time/energy/resources to spend on themselves, on their family, and on others.

You are employing a tactic called deflection [0]. You try to redirect attention away from yourself by criticizing me. This habit can harm relationships. I hope you can break the habit of deflecting when you feel criticized. Your life will be better if you stop deflecting. Changing habits is super hard. I have been struggling to change my own habits for the last 5 years. It's hard and worth the effort. Good luck and best wishes.

[0] https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/psychologists/what-is-defl...

You're right. They did say this was a serious attempt to address mosquitoes and disease.

I apologize for thinking this was just for shits and giggles.

In regards to it's design for that purpose I think it's probably awful.

This is important work. An effective non-toxic indoor mosquito control device will eliminate much suffering and death. Malaria prevents Africa from developing to middle-class societies with stable populations and functioning governments that are able to control environmental pollution. Therefore malaria indirectly affects all humans.

I think an effective indoor mosquito control system will detect mosquitos with microphones, aim with a zoom camera, and shoot mosquitoes with soapy water droplets.

Soapy water kills bugs. The soap eliminates water's surface tension. Once the bug touches the droplet, it sticks to it. As the bug struggles, it gets pulled inside the droplet. The water blocks respiration, causing the bug to suffocate. For manual insect killing, a spray bottle with soapy water is far better than an aerosol bottle of toxic chemicals or a laser.

> middle-class societies with stable populations and functioning governments that are able to control environmental pollution

I'm not entirely sure if this is sarcastic trolling or an actual belief of a sane individual but this, this is a load of garbage.

So what, if Malaria gets solved the whole continent will suddenly have functioning governments and economies? Do you know how big the continent is? It's history?

I hope you were trolling.

I grew up in Ghana. I saw first-hand that women in poverty have many children but those with middle-class circumstances have fewer. Africa's population explosion [0] will slow only when the people climb out of poverty [1]. Total world population is half of the climate change CO2 equation.

Malaria has an incredible suppressing effect on entire societies [2]. Many young children get sick with it monthly and miss school. Older children miss school to care for sick siblings. Parents miss multiple weeks of work every year because of it. And even after they're well enough to work again, they're not 100%.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Africa#Populat...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_and_fertility

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaria#Economic_impact

And Ghana is a good analogue for an entire continent?

> I saw first-hand that women in poverty have many children but those with middle-class circumstances have fewer.

This is true everywhere. Even in super rich first world post industrial nations.

> Parents miss multiple weeks of work every year because of it.

Yes. Otherwise known as sick leave. What's your point?

If a country cannot afford to administer its own healthcare and economic policy, that has nothing to do with Malaria.

The anecdotal evidence is appreciated, and well worth looking into, but the claim that an entire continent's economic and development future hangs on the existence of a treatable disease is hogwash, ignorant and downright irresponsible. Theres work to do here, and spreading dangerously ignorant information does not help one bit.

I did not mean to imply that malaria is the only thing preventing Africa's development. African societies have various problems which prevent their development. Malaria is a common one.

Parents missing work leads to reduced wealth production. For the 65% of Africans who rely on subsistence farming [0], sickness at critical times (harvest) can result in drastic economic losses. Children frequently missing school end up with lower education levels and reduced lifetime wealth production. Malaria can also cause lifelong intellectual disabilities [1], which destroy lifetime wealth production.

> If a country cannot afford to administer its own healthcare and economic policy, that has nothing to do with Malaria.

This is a bold claim. Can you please explain?

It seems to me that a country's wealth influences its ability to address specific health problems. And when those health problems reduce wealth production, there is a vicious cycle. The question is, "How big is the effect of malaria on wealth production?" Gates Foundation says it's "billions of dollars per year" [1]. That is tiny compared to Africa's $2.6T GDP. I think Gates Foundation is oversimplifying. I believe multiplying effects exist, especially with education and childrens' health. This was seen with long-term deworming experiments [2] which showed that even the siblings of treated children, born long after the treatment period, also had higher lifetime earnings.

> is hogwash, ignorant and downright irresponsible.

Please try to disagree without insulting others personally.

[0] https://borgenproject.org/tag/subsistence-farming/

[1] https://www.gatesfoundation.org/what-we-do/global-health/mal...

[2] https://blog.givewell.org/2016/07/26/deworming-might-huge-im...

I was hiking with a friend in northern europe. It was +25C and we were being harassed by mosquitoes, horseflies and who knows what else. Naturally the same idea occurred to us - to use a head mounted laser to fry the wings of anything that approaches us. We were joking about the bulkiness - that you would have a power hungry i7 on your head, doing live object detection, a heavy power supply for computation and a strong laser, servo motors whirring directing the laser. It sounds unjust - the forest being their home and couple of city-dwellers killing the creatures for a bit of convenience.

Nathan Myhrvold (of Microsoft fame) tried to build a laser to kill mosquitoes, ~11-12 years ago. He even gave a TED talk about it [0].

It seems that the project eventually failed to achieve anything of sufficient value. [1]

[0]: https://www.ted.com/talks/nathan_myhrvold_could_this_laser_z...

[1]: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/07/laser-shooting-mosqu...

> (of Microsoft fame)

I believe by now he's more famous for being the world's most damaging patent troll

Good for a bit of mosquito schadenfreude...an experiment to create exploding mosquitos:


The conclusion is wrong.

I personally witnessed a mosquito being made to pop by tensing a muscle. Note that I'm not claiming any specific mechanism of action, or that this is a common human ability, or that more than one species is vulnerable. I've seen it once.

The case I witnessed was 31 to 35 years ago, in camp with a bunch of boys. To help you guess at the species, I can narrow down the location to one of three places. In summer of 1985 or 1986, it could have been in Oklahoma or northern Texas. In summer of 1987 or 1988, it could have been in southern New Hampshire. The boy had very well defined muscles and minimal fat. He got the mosquito to land right in the middle of his biceps. He saved his strength, waiting until the mosquito was almost full before tensing his muscle. The mosquito did not immediately explode; it took a good long time.

Anybody else witnessed it? Anybody able to do it reliably? If so, can you describe the type of mosquito or where it lives or anything else that might identify it?

Oh, wow. A few years ago I actually posted a question about that on Biology.SE: https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/3263/do-mosquito...

So instead of having a mosquito bite, you now have a zombie mosquito attached to you continuing to suck and spill a large multiple of normal volume.


There is actually a commercial product for killing lice on farmed salmon with lasers (https://www.stingray.no/delousing-with-laser/?lang=en), but I have to admit that I don't know how well it works. So at least there are related products. Probably easier to solve the lice on salmon problem though.

This effectiveness of product has been debunked half a year ago [1], though the technology is very interesting.

[1]: Bui, S., Geitung, L., Oppedal, F., & Barrett, L. T. (2020). Salmon lice survive the straight shooter: A commercial scale sea cage trial of laser delousing. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 181, 105063. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105063

This is a neat project and a great idea.

As a side note if you would like to dispatch all the mosquito in your area, there are "mosquito donuts" that are safe to put in creeks and ponds that will get rid of them at the source. For the existing mosquito infestations, a large blower flan with a window screen on the intake side will catch tens of thousands of them per day. You can mix their carcasses into your plant fertilizer. You can attract more of the mosquito to your blower by opening 2 litter bottles of carbonated water 20 feet in front of the intake side.

I would gladly don protective eyewear before going to bed if it meant having a mosquito free night. I absolutely hate the little fuckers with a passion.

I find that the slight breeze created by a house fan is enough to throw the mosquitos in my room off. They find it extremely hard to fly in “turbulence.”

I've always wanted something like to be commercialized. Some context: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito_laser

Been worked on before with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funding: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito_laser

I've been waiting for a commercial device to come out after hearing about this a decade ago. Some kind of simple blackbox that kills mosquitos in a reasonable vicinity with low power requirements that's also rechargeable via USB. Possibly add a big battery and make it a USB charger.

I don't think 30cm distance is far enough for much usefulness, feels like commercial viability means at least 1m if not 2m. 30cm is 'put object by the food' use case and not much else, and mosquitos aren't really into food. Perhaps it could work by tent openings but not sure.

In much of the world, 30cm is "put it by the bed at night and sleep without agony".

What about a triple beam setup? The individual beams would be only half or a third as powerful, making them safer to human eyes. Only where they cross they would carry enough power to zap the mosquito...

This laser is 200 times too powerful to be considered "mostly safe" for human ayes (cat 3R) and 1000 times too powerful to be considered safe (cat 2).

I toyed with the idea but it's hazardous in any usable setup.

If you'd like to do it moderately safe I'd stay away from lasers. Use a power LED and parabolic reflector to make the beam as incoherent as possible and then focus it with optics to create very narrow focal depth. Then it will still be able to burn the mosquito but won't be a blinding hazard as little as 20 centimetres from the focal point.

I must admit I was just thinking out loud, not bothered by any relevant knowledge.

Thank you for your thoughtful explanation.

In Australia a laser that emits more than one milliwatt is a prohibited weapon. Your three 333 mW lasers are still vastly over this legal limit.

(And Australia’s laws here were decided based on safety standards, the figures of which uuidgen points out.)

A 300mW beam is far more than enough to ruin your eyes.

Do not look into laser with remaining eye!

Using hand grenades would improve results

Why not use sonar like the other such project which if memory serves is backed by Bill Gates.

The system designed and built by Intellectual Ventures uses lasers for ranging and discrimination.



IIRC Intellectual Ventures was / is also a notorious patent troll. AFAIK this was the main barrier that companies that wanted to head into similar spaces had to face. So I'm glad something open source is being developed.

I thought that was vaporware

This is something I imagined as a kid. So cool to know others have this idea and that it can be a reality! (even if the results aren't perfect)

Looks like a fun project but the results did not look promising. Out of 100 mosquitos the best algorithm would’ve taken out less than 10.

In a laboratory environment with contrasting background—something they admit isn’t ideal, I assume for real world conditions.

Let’s say the laboratory conditions are real world. To your point, killing ~10% of mosquitos is hardly ideal, but using lasers and computers to do it is cool.

6/10. Want to try.

Exactly my idea for a pet project for a long time. The only difference was my intention to use (ultra-)sound tracking as well.

Haha, I've had this idea rattling about my brain for some time too (though mine went a bit further in scope instead - all sorts of crop pest control for small-scale farming situations, such as greenfly, caterpillars, etc, with training to avoid positive visitors such a bees)

Early on, I dismissed ultrasound - unless some kind of funky triangulation went on, I think the resolution would be far too low and risk of false positives too high - but I'd be interested to hear any thoughts you had on how that might work. That said, recognising the flight noises of certain bugs would make sense to me - only as a way to trigger a stop-and-sweep cycle though.

But as much as the idea excites me, "real" exploration of the space will only happen when I get lots of time and a fair bit of money - and maybe some land! Alas, I'm nowhere near that point yet.

An interesting future application for computer vision, but until both hardware and software increase in speed and precision by several orders of magnitude, this is not feasible. Current neural object detection just isn't there yet. Not to mention the dangers of shooting a powerful 1W laser out in the open...

The other day I decided to make use of our garden and work outside. Within 20 seconds I was being swarmed by the buggers. I thought of using some sort of anti mosquito white noise to repel them but no luck (although it did seem to work for some commenters).

The war against the mosquito goes on.

This product is nothing new, and the reality here is that it's existed for quite a number of years. Why don't we see these things out there killing millions of mosquitos? Because the use of camera vision and a galvanometer to attack mosquitos with a laser is PATENTED TECHNOLOGY, owned and licenced by an Israeli company. You can find a Ted talk video where they display literally this same technology. So far, nobody has been willing to pay the astronomical amount of money they are asking to licence the technology and if this guy thinks he's going to start producing these things without a legal fight that will set him bankrupt, he has it coming.

“The developed prototype in this paper has a limited range of actions. But at the same time, the results of this work proved the possibility of using lasers to destroy mosquitoes. In the future, to increase the damaging ability, it is necessary to increase the accuracy of the laser operation. To implement tracking in the Python language, various algorithms were written, both with tracking at each moment of only one mosquito and using the multithreading function and transmitting data on the position of mosquitoes using an array to the galvanometer. The success of the experiment can be enhanced by using a more powerful laser, which will make it possible to neutralize more than 2 mosquitoes in one second.”

I live near the forest. Deer constantly eat our garden. I've seen motion sensors products that hook up to a sprinkler but I'd much prefer this tuned to deer with a water cannon instead of a laser.

It might be easier to detect mosquito sound, just like humans do. Just an idea for folks who want to continue.

Combination of sound, vision, and drones that smell like blue cheese might bring fuckers down...

...and shooting sparrows with cannons becomes shooting mosquitoes with lasers since 2021 ;-) nevertheless, I like the project, much dedication was going into this, lot to learn from...

Of course there are simpler ways of dealing with insect pests, but I love the hacker kookieness of it.

But, an even crazier idea, get a magnetron from a microwave oven connect it to a phased array antenna (PAA), that way you can scan much faster. Also, use a reduced power and radar returns to detect any insect then activate the PAA to to focus the power of the beam to kill the insect.

Much more impractical and dangerous.

Not all species of mosquitos are bad, e.g. there is only one out of 3500 that spreads malaria, some feed on nectars and are very important pollinators. Can this tell the difference between the different kinds? Or will the drones buzz around the garden lasering anything vaguely mosquito shaped?

A previous "mosquito fence" claimed to be able to recognize not only species, but also specifically female mosquitos, by wing beat characteristics. So it should be possible.

I wonder if something like this could be effective against grey silverfish? They move slowly, usually on the floor at night and they're big and nice for the camera to see.

> Page 11: Ethical Approval: Not required.

Just a general question, what are the criteria for living organisms that do requires ethical approval? Is the threshold by organism size?

Vertebrates, typically.

In the UK, vertebrates + octopuses.

Sounds like a DIY of the Photonic Sentry.

Today, PiNet. Tomorrow, Skynet.

Very cool. Would love to see results with a night vision camera.

I wonder if adding spatial audio would improve detection

I have a simple solution to the mosquito problem.

Nuclear War.

The turn it off and on again approach.

Does it make Pew Pew Pew sounds?

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Typo in the title of the paper makes me not want to read it.

Would you have preferred the researcher to publish in Russian?

No but I am sure he has English speaking friends who could proofread it.

A bit of a arrogant anglocentristic point of view?

Why do you assume everyone in the world has native english speakers as friends, willing to do free proofreading?

I found a bunch of people to proofread my work for free. Why would you assume everyone charges for everything?

"Why would you assume everyone charges for everything"

Where did I do this?!?

I know people who do this, but I know many native english speakers. People in russia for example might not have that opportunity.

You wrote: "Why do you assume everyone in the world has native english speakers as friends, willing to do free proofreading?"

So you didn't write that? Ok.

The people who proofread my work aren't in my immediate circle of friends. My point is that you can find people out in the world that aren't in your current bubble.

I have access to people now who speak and read more languages than I ever will. Some of them are in Russia. I think you are inadvertantly placing limits where they may not really be.

It gives it a "Borat-esque" quality.

How am supposed to know it’s a phrase? Shouldn’t it be in quotes?

It's a pre-print, made available early, and English is not the author's first language.

I think you're being a bit harsh.

How am I supposed to know the author is non-English speaker?

Unfortunately it is true with at least academic articles typos and grammatical errors are it will be perceived as low quality article.

One click on the authors name gave:

“Mr. Ildar Rakhmatulin South Ural State University“

The academics I know ... and I know quite a few ... are understanding about people writing in languages other than their native language.

Perhaps you should just go with your original thought and not read anything if you find any kind of grammatical error.

Do you have any evidence correlating proficiency in grammatically-correct English and research quality?

It's not a typo, it's a grammatical error. It's a pet peeve of mine when people refer to any kind of mistake at all as a "typo".


Incidentally, this was first posted to a clone of HN that I run. I can't link it here, or in fact even mention the name. But if you go to my Twitter profile, it's my pinned tweet.

So if you like reading this sort of thing, perhaps you'd also like seeing it 44 days before it premiers on HN. It was certainly one of the more interesting submissions.

It was kind of funny, because the author posted it a bunch of times. I think maybe they got confused that they were on the real HN, and were like "This is awesome! It's been on the front page forever!" and posted it more. Wish I knew how to contact him to let him know it's been picked up by the mainstream site.

He also posted "Neural network for automatic farm control", their previous work: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339105969_Neural_ne...

They really love using neural networks for farming. Or for cannons. Either way, it's a worthy endeavor.

You can't post if because... it has happened before, and caused trouble?

Curious to hear why you're running a clone of HN, and why you assert that some cool stuff shows up there before it does on HN.

I don't know why it cannot be shared here. Given the open source nature of PG's Arc and the fact that it's main repo comes with a HN clone, I'd be surprised if there was an impetus not to share forks of HN on here.

But maybe the hesitancy to link the site has more to do with this statement on it's Welcome page:

The initial impetus behind the site is a desire to try to recapture the early spirit of Hacker News. HN currently has about 5 million visitors a month. It's different than it was back in the day when it was a much smaller group of people.

Well ... I think the person you replied to has a very troubled history with the staff of HN.

Self-promotion wrapped up in FOMO.

If you do have to kill something then at least do it humanely. Burning them to death is pretty horrible, so is zapping them with a high voltage shock.

I think most people don't believe insects are complex of mind to be said to suffer in the same sense as human beings. Even if this is not so what is the exchange rate between human suffering and mosquito suffering? I would probably horribly torture any number of mosquitos to prevent the suffering of even one human. Wouldn't you? Can you imagine telling one person sorry you need to die I cannot justify torturing so many mosquitos?

I'm not arguing that mosquitos shouldn't be killed. I'm arguing that one should not wantantly choose a painful way of removing them. Alternatives which could be better include natural predators, quickly squashing them, soapy water, soap film on stagnant water to kill off the larvae (but not where other aquatic life may be harmed). Just avoid the mean ways.

> More than 700 thousand human deaths

I don’t think I’ve ever in my 40 and nine years on the planet seen numbers of this scale written in mixed numeric and textual form.

It’s not like 700 kilometers, where you could at least argue this is the case vs the SI unit, but where a kilometer is a useful unit for communication anyway. The natural unit here is a human life, not a thousand human lives.

There are a several other quality issues in the abstract making me wonder if this is a serious effort or a Markov-generated abstract. (“We developed a program for mosquito tracking in real.”)

>> More than 700 thousand human deaths

> I don’t think I’ve ever in my 40 and nine years on the planet seen numbers of this scale written in mixed numeric and textual form.

In my 50 and nine years on this planet, I have.

> There are a several other quality issues in the abstract ...

It's a pre-print, and the author's first language is not English. Some people struggle with a second language, and I think it's commendable that someone is willing to make their results available.

I like the author, the idea and the article. It will not stop me from highlighting one of my favorite clauses:

"there are hundreds of different creams, devices, and other devices. "

It has the feel of being machine translated. A short time ago I saw an example of three different verbs in one language being translated into the same verb in English ... I'll see if I can find it. I suspect in the author's first language the first "devices" was something specific that got a generic label in English.

Writing numbers that way is common in various languages. For example, every day on the Polish news the number of newly detected COVID cases is written in the format "13 tys. 574", where "tys." is the abbreviation for “thousand”.

As native-English-speaking academics have become a minority of those publishing in international journals (and fewer journals are doing serious copyediting anyway), there seems to be more and more toleration in science of different ways of writing things based on the author’s own native language.

Every now and then I read "has left-wing inclusion/diversity has gone too far?"

And then I see comments that basically amount to: "haha, dumb foreigners can't speak english LOL"

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