Ildar Rakhmatulin from Heriot-Watt University (Scotland) together with colleagues built A low cost laser system that uses a vision system to detect and repel or eliminate cockroaches and works effectively at a distance of up to 1.2 metres.
This is not Mr. Rakhmatulin’s first project in this field: he has previously built a system that uses a Raspberry Pi single-board computer and a laser to detect and neutralize mosquitoes. In the new iteration, the engineer replaced the computer with a more efficient one for image processing algorithms NVIDIA Jetson Nano. The system uses two cameras to determine the location of the insect; This data is converted into an analog signal with a voltage value of 0 to 5 V – the signal goes to the galvanometer, which controls the angle of rotation of the two mirrors, which in turn direct the laser beam in the right direction.
The inventor tested the system’s operation with different laser powers: at low rates, the beam makes the insect fly – this more humane method can theoretically force it to avoid certain places; and at high power, the cockroach is effectively “neutralized” – in other words, the laser kills it. Mr. Rakhmatulin published all the materials related to his project GitHub and noted that the components to assemble the installation will cost no more than $250. Some enthusiasts, he says, have already started testing his invention on other pests, including hornets. The installation promises to be more effective than traditional alternatives such as mechanical traps and chemicals – the latter often damaging the environment and destroying all insects, not just vermin.
In future versions of the installation, the author plans to make the laser beam thinner and train the system to target specific body parts of insects. But at home, he still recommends not using his invention – it can harm not only cockroaches, but also the eyes of its owner.