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Neutralisation of cockroaches with laser automated by machine vision (researchgate.net)
86 points by ildaron_rons 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 106 comments





For anyone looking for a practical use for this type of technology with a large commercial base, global appeal, and the ability to have subjects corralled into an area for easier detection -- have a read up on the Small Hive Beetle aka SHB, which afflicts bee hives around the world.

They are about 4-5mm long, black, and do not piggy back on bees, instead flying in to hives, landing on the same pad the bees do, which could reasonably be extended or shaped into multiple corridors, etc.

Implementation would be a fixed, straight-down affair - covering an area of perhaps 30-50 square centimetres, inherently human-safe, etc.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, the hobbyist market for something that could detect & fry these would probably be much greater than the commercial installations, but that obviously depends ultimately on cost per unit.


It's very unlikely any type of laser powerful enough to zap small beetles will be available for sale and use by the general public.

Or cost less than a few hundred thousand dollars after all the safety and liability costs.


I have one on my desk as part of a laser cutter that cost less than $200 in total.

If your claimed laser actually could zap a small beetle in under a second, then it's not legal to sell as part of a consumer product in Canada or the US without expensive interlocks and so on.

There are nonetheless lots of shady ways to buy these types of lasers without the necessary safety controls, but there also lots of shady ways to buy even more dangerous things such as landmines, dynamite, etc.


> There are nonetheless lots of shady ways to buy these types of lasers without the necessary safety controls, but there also lots of shady ways to buy even more dangerous things such as landmines, dynamite, etc.

I've never seen landmines or dynamite on AliExpress.


Somewhere deep in China: "Challenge accepted!"

Interlocks aren't necessarily expensive. It could be as simple as a switch on the door.

If the interlock fails and someone is permanently blinded, who will be bearing the costs of the inevitable multi million dollar lawsuit?

I can't see anyone other than the manufacturer doing so. So a $10 interlock in terms of hardware cost becomes a $10 000 interlock in terms of total costs.


Not really. That's what liability insurance is for. In order to be in business, the manufacturer has to have business insurance which covers these sorts of things.

Equating the cost of the interlock to the quality of its performance doesn't hold up. I suspect that your experience is from automation where things like laser light curtains and lidar sensors are common (and expensive). On things like a Haas milling machine the door switch interlock is $400-$1200 (https://parts.haascnc.com/haasparts/en/USD/search?q=*:*:allC...)

So in the case of a $400 laser etcher from China being sold on Amazon, they need to spend less money on their switch than Haas does. The nice thing is that the switches for Haas need to be waterproof, etc. as they get coolant and oil sprayed on them all day. In the laser cutter it's different, so they can use a less expensive more appropriate part.

The right part for the job it seems, more expensive isn't always better (or safer).


The Haas milling machine is a good example, this is an interlock for nearly ideally controlled conditions and the costs are still sizeable. Imagine for a completely uncontrolled outdoor environment, such as the entrance of a beehive, how much more expensive it would have to be.


You linked to a small LIDAR? What relation does it have to interlocks for laser?

You've obviously never heard of styropyro who builds insanely strong lasers with basically salvaged junk electronics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BeTq99LqUo


What does home made stuff have to do with a consumer product sold to the general public?

Folks obviously can't legally sell homemade alcohol, drugs, medical equipment, etc.


>It's very unlikely any type of laser powerful enough to zap small beetles will be available for sale and use by the general public.

>Or cost less than a few hundred thousand dollars after all the safety and liability costs.

The linked video shows a laser more than powerful enough that can be bought off ebay by anyone for < $2000

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m...

So both of your statements were wrong.


I'm seeing 'laser beauty machines', 'laser tattoo removal machine', etc., starting at $51.99 CAD. These definitely are not legit consumer products being sold on eBay.

>These definitely are not legit consumer products being sold on eBay

Not sure at all what you are trying to say. These are obviously real products that "Consumers" can purchase and as per the video I posted are more than powerful enough for the purpose being discussed.


You do realize not everything sold on eBay is legitimate right? There are counterfeits, grey market goods, rejects from the assembly line, plain old fraud, etc.

They lack warranties, and critically for our discussion, have not passed inspection authorities, such as those examining laser safety of potential products.


I'm more concerned about how possible it is that one of these lasers harms a human by mistake when trying to target an insect.

I'm more concerned about how possible it is that one of these systems is used to harm humans deliberately.

What an amazing way to invalidate the slaughterbots video! Instead of killing humans, just equip drones with blinding laser weapons!

No need for absurd acrobatics, no need for wastefully detonating the drone, just a few seconds on each eyeball and onto the next human!



> the brain completes objects in damaged areas (remapping of dead pixels)

TIL that's a thing.


On the one hand this is pretty cool, on the other it can lead to people realizing ophthalmologic ailments too late, making them miss early treatment.

Similar, from years ago - laser vs mosquito.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKm8FolQ7jw


I’d imagine a cockroach is generally a bit harder to kill than a mosquito.

A high-speed galvo LASER (20,000mm/sec) with a proper vision system could track and sweep fast enough to obliterate a German cockroach in under a tenth of a second. One of those big 'waterbug' roaches would take about half a second. I operate one at 15,000mm/sec at work. It covers area RAPIDLY.


Seems like different implementations but not sure one would be harder than the other. Killing a tiny flying creature isn’t exactly easy

But the mosquito is much harder to shoot.

It’s been 10 years since that video was made, and I still can’t buy a thing like that for my garden.

Sorry everyone , editor of the paper deleted link for GitHub - https://github.com/Ildaron/Laser_control

all sources there


What happened to the promised mosquito killing laser?

It's been twelve years.


It’s a prime example of unnecessary complexity and risk. You get comparable results from a box fan pointed at a wire screen (mosquitoes get trapped on the mesh by the airflow), but nobody writes breathless articles about a box fan.

That's not true. I wrote this breathless article about box fans expressly to prove you wrong.

https://subcomplex.com/post/box-fans


Video for skeptics like myself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvI2aWZXPCE

You can install a mosquito killing laser outdoors and have a large area of no mosquitos. How effective is a fan for that use case?

Given that the laser is pure vaporware, I’d say it’s infinitely more effective.


Well, you specified a large area of no mosquitos. So I imagine the laser and the box fan would have equivalent effectiveness.

I mean, one of them would at least get you fewer mosquitos - especially if run daily.

Had excellent results in bedrooms with a device like this[0] that's much smaller. Very much the same concept though.

[0] https://www.amazon.co.uk/ANINBO-Mosquito-Killer-Indoor-Insec...


It was patented by Intellectual Ventures so was probably never going to be a real product. When the patent expires maybe someone will touch it.

IIRC it's nearly impossible to ensure that the laser (or its reflection from something!) never ever hits the eyes of people, and so it's not a viable product due to liability issues.

A system that zaps mosquitoes indoors (for example in the bedroom) is at least as valuable as one that zaps mosquitoes outdoors. Also easier & safer to implement. Activate it and close the door to the room, after clearing out pets. Let it run until it beeps. Re-enter toom. Sleep soundly without all the damned buzzing and biting.

Much safer would be to use directional speaker, which would "hit" mosquito with frequency that corresponds to wing length and damage it.

Making it human safe with light curtain drives cost and as someone already mentioned it is patented. So it’s an expensive product for riches with integrated patent troll lawsuit. Not good starting situation for development.


I had (and still continue to work slowly on) a similar idea but less dangerous - just keep a targeted super soaker powered by a camera and keep some bait in the night. You don’t need anything poisonous just pure ethanol would work. As long as some of that gets under the cockroach ethanol seems effective at killing them.

> less dangerous

pure ethanol is flammable, particularly when aerosolized https://firefighterinsider.com/ethanol-flammable/

boric acid (an irritating white powder) is highly effective


I can control for fire hazards more easily than BLINDING A HUMAN BEING.. viz only keeping it on top of a stone table with nothing flammable nearby in a concrete brick house..

I thought this was going to be a paper about how to fight against an enemy that has attached lasers that can identify targets to the backs of cockroaches

I read an article a while back about the fact that researchers are having a difficult time finding new research topics to study. "Everything has already been done," they say. I say this pish-posh. This article is proof positive that we are far from reaching the bottom of the barrel. /s

my uncle worked for Raid. He once told me they had a great product that you just sprayed in the air and killed all the bugs. But people like to see them die, so they went with a formula where you had to spray the bug directly with a foamy poison and watch them die in agony

I'd be wary that such a thing would impact me or my lungs

My thoughts as well. Poisoning the air you breathe seems like an obviously terrible idea.

> Poisoning the air you breathe seems like an obviously terrible idea.

Must not have been very obvious, otherwise we wouldn’t have any climate emergencies. /s


You mean something like this: https://clicks.co.za/raid_liquid-electric-mosquito-killer/p/... ?

Works extremely well. Since we use it in our bedroom, we have no mosquitos. We often only switch it on if we hear one and soon its over. Never see them die but from what I see it makes them 'groggy' (I assume before dying).

I have a different brand, but I assume its always the same two ingredients. I looked them up and those really only work on insects, nothing dangerous for humans.


> Active ingredient: Prallethrin (Pyrethroid) 16 g\L

> It is not well established if chronic exposure to small amounts of pyrethroids is hazardous or not.

> here is an association of pyrethroids with poorer early social-emotional and language development.

> Pyrethroids are very toxic to cats

I don't feel fully comfortable with it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrethroid#Humans


Thank you. I think the one we use is different as I had to lookup two substances. I do not have the packaging here at the moment, but will check (again).

From the research report provided in your link: 'Conclusions: Prenatal exposure to pyrethroids may be associated at 1 y of age with poorer social-emotional development. At 2 y of age, poorer language development was observed with higher prenatal pyrethroid levels'

Indeed not something that I would expose to children.


What could go wrong?

The cockroaches will probably evolve reflective exoskeletons.

Possibly, but equally likely they start evolving weird colors patterns that fool the ai into not recognizing them.

I wonder how long that would take under the the optimal conditions?

Months? Years? Decades?

(curves where optimal amount of potentially mutating cockroaches and selection pressure meet, or whatever the parameters are. You get the idea.)


Which will attract a new insect that is enticed to eat the shiny new creatures which will bring in insects or others that eat those insects. There's no free lunch.

well since the status quo is putting poison all over a house i'd prefer this if it becomes viable. pest control roomba with a laser on top? cool asf.

It’s adapted for border patrol

I use Bifenthrin and a $15 chemical sprayer. Seems like my method may be more practical.


I want this in a Portal Turret case! Voice is optional.

Why not just "killing"?

Pretty cool ... Could we also "neutralize and deter," say, surveillance drones with a similar method?

Military is already shooting down cruise missiles with lasers, so drones should be trivial in comparison

I'm assuming those sorts of lasers can't generally be afforded or obtained for the sorts of, uh, "assymetric" uses I have in mind.

The FAA would like a word with you.

i mean sure the regulators don't like it but they're probably also working with the people running surveillance drones. i have no ethical problems with shooting down or disabling surveillance drones that spy on my property. the only thing stopping me from doing it is having a means where i can achieve it and not get caught/punished.

How about just drones then flown by tourists in otherwise quite and relaxing nature spots?

> Neutralisation of cockroaches

Neutralisation means killing. Where I work it must pass by an ethic committee before experimentation. People may think of cockroaches as expendable garbage, but they deserve humane treatment like any other cobain. I remember a kit which was sold as a toy and allowed remote control of a cockroach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLTntnFeGE0 , sold as a toy this is pure animal cruelty.


Yeah right, From someone who lives in a pristine manicured environment I bet.. Laser the fucking lot of them I say.

I feel you here. After living with them for a couple years I started to feel crazy when I would crush the skittering ones with my bare hands in hopes of making a dent.

After trying dozens of extermination strategies I cackled when the first generation of deformed roaches started being born when using gentrol. >:)


If you live in the tropics, geckos are a great solution. Cute too.

I can understand the issue with the latter (almost feels akin to the sadistic sort of things kids do in general to insects...) but just killing them as a means of pest control I'm not quite sure I can grasp what the ethical concern is.

Uh, sorry for possibly seeming dense, but did you mean to write "cobain" there? What does that mean, in this context?

All I can find searching the word is of course about Kurt Cobain ... wondering if you somehow abstracted "all living beings" to "a bit like Kurt Cobain", or something, which would be quite an impressive jump and one I haven't seen before.

Or it's a typo I can't figure out, of course.


I've seen the word "cobain" being used in English as a translation to the Portuguese word "cobaia". It means an animal that is used in scientific experiments.

Autocorrect for “vermin”?

where do you work that requires ethics reviews on roaches? and where is the line for where it's considered cruel or not? tbh i have 0 issues killing bugs.

do you not believe in pest control?


> where do you work that requires ethics reviews on roaches?

A university.

> and where is the line for where it's considered cruel or not?

I don't know. I never needed ethical committee approval and was never part of it and never asked this particular question.

> tbh i have 0 issues killing bugs.

I'd bet the same about the ethical committee members.

> do you not believe in pest control?

Sure I do believe!


ok fair answers but if you "believe they deserve humane treatment" how do you square that with pest control? is laser burning less humane than poisoning (status quo)? also it is definitely more humane for the humans (like no worries about small children licking a poisoned floorboard).

I definitely didn't express myself well. What I really mean is: if you're doing scientific experiments with animals, I think they deserve as little pain as possible. I also must say I don't have much sympathy for cockroaches but playing with them like toys while inflicting pain is animal cruelty.

About pest control... well, I don't really care that much about roaches; but I'd do really care if they were, for example, dogs. So, the fact that I don't care that much doesn't means it is not ethically questionable.

If anyone has a good simple idea to develop pesticides which minimize suffering, I wouldn't be opposed to it.


As we set up machines do the hard work for us, why not just have the machine scoop up the cockroach in a little box and store it to be freed later far away from the house?

It would be far more impressive and "feels good news" than just one more insect-killing technological tool.


> As we set up machines do the hard work for us, why not just have the machine scoop up the cockroach in a little box and store it to be freed later far away from the house?

Far away where? Assuming we could airlift roaches anywhere - the location they get dropped off will be significantly impacted. In the best case you've condemned the roaches to await starvation (they will canabalize each other too). Which is like killing them with extra steps and wasted energy. Most likely they will impact the other living beings around them negatively.

Just quickly kill them when they are in areas that negatively impact your quality of life and don't feel bad when you do. Nature doesn't let you be neutral.


Why is it so hard to think about releasing them in a forest or in a field?

They don't eat wheat or corn, so that would be a solution, also they don't eat trees, so the forest is safe.

They will always find what they need in a forest, and in a lesser extent in a field, as they can lunch on whatever decomposed food or smaller animals they find. Very unlikey that they starve to death, at worst they just don't have enough stamina to reproduce, which is the natural way to autoregulate.

And a starved insect will slow down its metabolism and then die peacefully, there is no need to "show mercy" by putting it to death lol.


nobody is buying something that's just going to capture roaches.

I would, definitely!

And members of my family who do not like roaches also agree that it would be better to not kill them.

But I really do need that for mosquitoes, with a tiny vacuum mounted on a quadcopter with a high-precision camera and a GPU for edge AI.


I thought about the last part before. It just sounds like we need more dragonflies (they check all the boxes).

Imagine having to transport a box with dozens of roaches somewhere to empty it

Not very difficult.

If it disgusts you too much, why not let the drone do it for you.

Then again, if it disgusts you that much, you probably prefer killing the poor beasts.


there's a lot of value in no kill capture, they can be repurposed

I guess some of y'all don't remember highschool and that one teacher you couldn't stand


It usually goes without saying, but it's up to each man to exert his own will toward a spiritual value higher than that of mere vermin. Here we find one who lacks the strength to do even this.

> Here we find one who lacks the strength to do even this.

Picturing me as someone who "lacks the strength" "to exert his own will toward a spiritual value higher than that of mere vermin" is offensive.

Ok, I don't think commenting about "cockroach well being" on this thread was a good idea on my part. I want to make myself clearer: I have no problem with killing them, not even (actually specially) for scientific or pest control purposes. Summarily killing them is exactly what I do when they appear around me.

What I won't do (and find ethically or morally questionable besides cruel) is to play with them while inflicting pain. They have nerves and neurons and they surely feel pain. The kit I linked, sold as a toy, is pure animal cruelty. No matter if it tortures a cockroach or a dog.


> I have no problem with killing them, > What I won't do (and find ethically or morally questionable besides cruel) is to play with them while inflicting pain

Nobody here is saying it's ok to torture roaches for fun. The article doesn't say that either. The lasers are for pest control.

So you're kind of arguing with the air here.


Well said.

Of all the problems and things to worry about in this world, the well being of roaches...


Could not agree less. Unkindness to creatures inevitably results in a devaluation of all life, including human life. Just look at the sorry state of the world today.

I am OK to kill a cockroach, but not to inflict unnecessary suffering on it, or any creature.


> I am OK to kill a cockroach

I don't see where our disagreement is then.

> inflict unnecessary suffering on it

I don't believe I've said anything to that effect. Perhaps you're insinuating that based on my dismissing of the well being of roaches. My statement is in the context of this thread, using lasers for pest control. I'm saying it's ridiculous to worry about the well being of roaches in the context of pest control. Besides, I would think lasers result in instant death which is more humane that most pesticides.

> Unkindness to creatures inevitably results in a devaluation of all life, including human life.

I would agree with that to an extent. If you think pest control falls under the category of unkindness, then I would disagree because if you think that, you're valuing roach life more than human life. If that is your value, you have a right to that belief, but I vehemently disagree.


Your sentiment is absolutely not a mainstream one, but I get the idea: If everyone where to think like that, we wouldn't have wars. So, I can't just outright ridicule it like some other commenters.

cool I agree. Lets put them all in your house.



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