Wi-fi mosquito killer

It’s been a nice warm evening and after a few drinks you are just settling down in bed to go to sleep when you hear a “zzZZZzzzzzz” noise. Yep, in a scene that I’m sure is familiar to many, a pesky mosquito has made it into the room and will now continue to torment you, buzzing around tantalisingly out of reach of your flailing arm.

Mosquitoes are, however, more than just an annoyance, carrying deadly diseases such as dengue fever and malaria, the latter of which causes over a million deaths annually according to the World Health Organisation.

Just what have mosquitoes got to do with technology you may ask. Enter stage-left US company AmBio, which has developed a product called the “Mosquito Magnet”, which uses a humanlike scent to attract mosquitoes before using a vacuum cleaner-type device to suck them in to their death.

Now the company plans to take things a step further by creating a self-diagnosing wirelessly controlled mesh of “Mosquito Magnets”, according to an article at CNet. Centralised servers sitting at the heart of an 802.11b wireless network will monitor conditions such as air quality, humidity and wind direction and determine whether to switch the “magnets” on or off.

AmBio has ambitious plans which it believes could see everything from golf courses to resorts and even whole towns protected. Venture capitalists are showing a keen interest in the technology and the company reportedly plans to test its system at the refugee camp Trat Camp in southeast Thailand, which houses around 15,000 refugees who are blighted by malaria attacks.

But, is it just me or does this seem a bit like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Whilst I’m no mosquito expert, targeting the mosquito breeding grounds would seem to make more sense and I just can't see it working in poorer countries where populations are often dispersed thinly over rural areas.

Still, if such a system happens to give me a good night's sleep next time on holiday I might just change my mind