Three researchers from Heriot-Watt University, Paul-Sabatier University, and the University of Sussex have developed an artificial intelligence-based device that is equipped with a laser and uses a Vision system to detect and automatically shoot to kill cockroaches and can work effectively at a distance of 1.2 meters. In their paper published in the journal Insects of the East, Ildar Rakhmatulin, Mathieu Lihoreau, and Jose Pueyo describe the device and its performance when tested on real insects.
This isn't Rakhmatulin's first project in this area: he has previously built a system that uses a Raspberry Pi single-board computer and lasers to detect and eliminate mosquitoes. In the latest version, the engineer replaced the aforementioned single-board computer with a more efficient NVIDIA Jetson Nano for image processing algorithms. The system uses two cameras to determine the insect's position, this data is converted into an analog signal with a voltage value of 0 to 5V, which then goes to a galvanometer, which controls the rotation of the two mirrors, which in turn directs the laser beam in the correct direction.
Rakhmatulin tested the system with different laser powers: at low rates, the beam was able to make the cockroach fly, which could force it to leave certain places; at high power, the laser could directly kill Dead cockroaches. Rakhmatulin posted all the materials related to his project on GitHub, noting that the total price of the parts to assemble the device will not exceed $250. He also said that some hobbyists have begun testing his invention on other pests, including bumblebees. The device promises to be more effective than traditional products like mechanical traps and chemicals, which tend to damage the environment and kill all insects, not just pests.
In a future version of the device, Rakhmatulin plans to make the laser beam thinner and train the system to target specific body parts of the insect. But at home, he still advises against using his invention because the device not only kills cockroaches but also hurts human eyes.