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In a lab in this Seattle suburb, researchers in long white coats recently stood watching a small glass box of bugs. Every few seconds, a contraption 100 feet away shot a beam that hit the buzzing mosquitoes, one by one, with a spot of red light.
In a video, researchers showed what happens when they deploy deadly rays.
A mosquito hovers into view. Suddenly, it bursts into flame. A thin plume of smoke rises as the mosquito falls. At the bottom of the screen, the carcass smolders.
There's ready supply of fresh recruits nearby, where an intern feeds a saucer of goat blood to a colony of Anopheles stephensi, one species of mosquito that transmits malaria.
Not only can the laser target a mosquito, it can also tell a male from a female based on wing-beat.