If you cannot invent a new mouse trap, why not invent a new mosquito net? North Kingstown, RI-based American Biophysics has done just that: It is using WiFi to create a huge electronic mosquito net, or something that would serve the same purpose as a mosquito net. The company has already proved innovative in killing bugs dead by building a magnet which emits a human scent to attract bloodsucking insects. When the bugs fly into the net, the magnet sucks them in and they suffocate.
Now the company has worked out a way of using software to control a network of magnets--forming a sort of wide-area bug fence--through wireless 802.11b technology. The technology is similar to that of networked PCs with a LAN creating an electronic self-diagnosing network of magnets all communicating with one another through the 802.11b wireless standard. Servers in the middle of the network record and analyze data transmitted from the computerized magnets on air quality, humidity, wind direction and pollutants. The WiFi-controlled network of magnets can offer mosquito net-like protection to areas as large as a golf course.
Each magnet in the system has the capacity to draw bugs for up to 100 yards. Each of the magnets is powered 24 hours a day by a standard 20-lb. propane tank or a combination of propane and electricity supplied through a 12-volt power cord. The main device at the center of the system is basically a vacuum cleaner which sucks insects in and dehydrates them until, to quote AmBio president, they die "a horrible death." Chicago-based Ritchie Capital Management has led several investors in giving the company $15 million in series B funding to bring the invention to market by the middle of 2006.