Laser fence aims to protect crops from rats and other pests

Oct. 28, 2016
Researchers at Liverpool John Moores University hope a "fence" of laser light will scare rats as an alternative to poison.

In a trial funded by the European Commission (EC), researchers at Liverpool John Moores University (Liverpool, England) hope a "fence" of laser light will scare rats and other pests, proving an alternative to poison. The trials will take place in Scotland, the Netherlands, and Spain starting in late 2016. The National Farmers' Union (NFU) said innovation was important to support the farming industry following Brexit.

RELATED ARTICLE: 'Photonic Fence' zaps mosquitoes with a laser

"The laser has already been produced," Alex Mason, project coordinator of the Life Laser Fence project, told the BBC. The EC contributed $1.85 million dollars to support the research. "It's a commercial product used in a number of situationsbut we are looking at using it in agricultural situations, on a wider range of species. It already works very well on birds. We hope it will work on rats, badgers, foxes and rabbits too."

The Agrilaser Autonomic is sold as a device that repels birds, which "perceive the approaching laser beam as a physical danger" and fly away, according to the manufacturer. The researchers hope it will work just as well on other unwanted animals that can destroy crops, eat food meant for farm animals, and spread disease.

Controlling pests with poisons can lead to unintended victims such as birds being killed too, so the trial hopes to reduce crop damage in the trial areas by 50%, while reducing bird exposure to pesticide by 80%.

Helen Ferrier, chief science adviser of the NFU, said, "Continuing support and funding of the agri-tech sector is vital in ensuring British science and innovation can reach more farm businesses. Agri-tech can enable the British farming industry to become more efficient, reduce our waste, provide tools to manage volatility and a fair, transparent, and functioning supply chain. An agri-tech sector we can rely on is extremely important in the face of potential political and economic changes in the next five to 10 years which could severely impact the farming industry."


About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

Sponsored Recommendations

Request a quote: Micro 3D Printed Part or microArch micro-precision 3D printers

April 11, 2024
See the results for yourself! We'll print a benchmark part so that you can assess our quality. Just send us your file and we'll get to work.

Request a free Micro 3D Printed sample part

April 11, 2024
The best way to understand the part quality we can achieve is by seeing it first-hand. Request a free 3D printed high-precision sample part.

How to Tune Servo Systems: The Basics

April 10, 2024
Learn how to tune a servo system using frequency-based tools to meet system specifications by watching our webinar!

Precision Motion Control for Sample Manipulation in Ultra-High Resolution Tomography

April 10, 2024
Learn the critical items that designers and engineers must consider when attempting to achieve reliable ultra-high resolution tomography results here!

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!