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Florida tests laser wall to shoot down crop insects

Mar 02, 2017, 7:01 AM EST
(Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Follow/flickr)
(Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Follow/flickr)

Asian citrus psyllid, an insect vector that has decimated orange crops in Florida, now faces a modern assault system, equipped with cameras for identifying the flying bugs and shooting them down with a laser beam. The technology initially developed to control malaria-causing mosquitoes in poor parts of the world, will be tested for the first time on a U.S. Department of Agriculture site in the state.

Photonic Fence, developed by Intellectual Ventures, can zap flying insects within 30 meters horizontally and 3 meters vertically, writes Phys.org. The technology has garnered the attention of soft drink brands such as Pepsi and Coca Cola, which have lines of citrus juices and soda.

On papers the technology appears menacing for crop bugs but the real challenge for the company is to prove its economic viability for the farmers, notes MIT Technology Review.

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