#5. The Termibot
Drone technology has come a long way. Back in the day when a few farsighted individuals first pointed out just how spiffy it would be to use unmanned, automated mechanical constructs to explode human beings, we doubt they envisioned the drone’s newest target: the lowly termite.
The Termibot is an advanced robotic killing machine built solely to dispatch tiny wood-eating insects, and it has all the tools necessary to achieve battlefield superiority. It is remote controlled and maneuverable enough to be able to right itself should it flip over, it can traverse the cramped and narrow areas of buildings that are inaccessible to humans, and if an obstacle gets in the way of a proper line of sight, a probedelivers a precision blow to clear the path. Onboard thermal imaging cameras detect heat signatures that indicate the presence of termites, and once the enemy is engaged, this friendly little bot rains chemical death directly into their colony. That’s right: It’s got Predator vision.
To kill termites.
It doesn’t bleed, they can’t kill it.
Invented by David Rice, director of the Australian imaging and risk management company Termicam (surely we can trust the man who prefixes all of his efforts with “termi-“), the Termibot could potentially save homeowners a fortune by pinpointing the source of an infestation without deep-dicking their house’s walls. The inventor even claims that, thanks to its high-tech thermographic technology, the appeal of the Termibotisn’t limited to those in the pest control field.
We assume he rubbed his hands together and laughed for a solid minute after saying that.
At least we hope it was his hands.
#4. The “Better Mousetrap”
The classic mousetrap — with the spring-loaded bar on top of a flat wooden base and a “trip” on which to place the bait — has remained relatively unchanged since the first patented prototype was introduced in 1894, and for good reason. While there have been many attempts to come up with something better, nothing so far has managed to surpass the simple, spine-shattering elegance of the original. It is almost is if it’s difficult to build an improved, superior, or otherwise more functional trap for mice. Who’d have guessed?
What you’re looking at is the appropriately (if somewhat arrogantly) named Better Mousetrap. It dispatches targets via a “102-pound death blow by way of 40-60 PSI of compressed air.” With a streamlined chassis built from aluminum, the device combines “electronic controlled circuitry, a pneumatic actuator, and complex solenoids” to fulfill its mission of cold, unfeeling rodent extermination. Ultrasonic motion sensors and lasers detect the approach of whiskered interlopers, while a key-lock switch with manual hammer override has been installed to prevent the device from triggering on false targets (read: your fingers, tongue, penis — whatever else you’re going to stick in there on a drunken dare some night). This doesn’t just kill mice, it abducts them into a science fiction dystopia where the machines have risen up and mousekind is a glitch that can no longer be tolerated.
Moments before it went back in time to hunt the rodent equivalent of Sarah Connor.
The Better Mousetrap’s designer will readily admit that his concept may be a tad overdesigned, or as one report put it, “like cracking a nut with a sledgehammer,” but he counters such charges by stating that his mousetrap is most certainly “a lot more fun to watch.”
Who keeps putting the psychopaths in charge of advanced robotic killing machines?
Ah, but overwrought rodent destruction is not the exclusive domain of the technological revolution:
Patent: Acme Incorporated.
The contraption pictured above, which looks like a mashup of Redwall and Saw, is the wildly understated Animal Trap from 1882. Once the gun was loaded, cocked, and ready to fire, the device was placed right in front of a burrow. The targeted furball, waking up to a bright new day full of whisker-wiggling possibilities, took one step outside directly onto a small treadle, which caused a rod to push the trigger of the pistol, and boom — some unlucky rat starts questioning how lucky he feels, exactly.
The designer, Texan J.A. Williams, included in his patent a suggestion that the device could be used “in connection with a door or window, so as to kill any person or thing opening the door or window to which it is attached.”
“Except if it’s some sort of cartoon mouse. Then you’re pretty much fucked.”
It’s official: The first sign of utter madness is a newfound interest in a career in pest extermination.
#3. Head-Mounted Fly Strips
Not all new developments in tiny creature genocide are high-tech: For instance, you can always slap some old-fashioned flypaper on your baseball cap and walk around like a roving insect death camp.
From the controversial Invisible Larva documentary Tony 2012.
This isn’t a case of redneck MacGyverism: These hat strips can actually be bought pre-made in stores, probably of the type where you can pick up flannel shirts with the sleeves already removed. They’re called Deerfly Patches, and if you want the full details, you can watch a nearly 10-minute product video about them. Or you could skip the video and just trust us when we tell you that it’s a fucking fly strip that you stick on top of your head. Your call.
“Oh, so it has an on and off position. Incredible.”
And for the ladies, there’s a more fashionable option: UmbrellaGirl went and channeled her inner A-Team montage and attached multiple blue Solo cups to a lovely parasol in order to achieve the same effect.
“Mine actually killed something. The A-Team can suck it.”
To be fair, it does work like a charm. You know the old saying: “If it looks stupid, but it works, it ain’t stupid.”
Perhaps “unless you’re walking around with a bunch of bug corpses on the back of your head” is an unspoken addendum.
#2. The Bug-A-Salt
Houseflies. What are you gonna do? Flyswatters are woefully unsatisfying, and The Man tends to frown upon the willy-nilly firing of shotguns inside your apartment. Well, Lorenzo Maggiore of fly-infested Santa Monica, California, went and designed himself a weapon that can Reservoir Dogs the hell out of some unsuspecting housefly without exploding your television, chandelier, sliding glass door, dog, or neighbor.
“From my cold, well-seasoned hands.”
In place of hot lead, the Bug-A-Salt uses ordinary table salt to blow away flies. The amount of salt used per shot is no more than a pinch to us, but to a fly it’s like you’re packing a blunderbuss loaded with bowling balls. The loader holds enough salt for about 50 shots, ensuring that you can rack up a pretty decent body count during your next session of BioShock: My Apartment.
Maggiore initially asked for some crowdfunding to help him get the product up and running, requesting a mere $15,000 to bring his idea to a Walmart near you. In case you doubted the sheer number of shotgun-loving, bug-hating fanatics, they came out in force and instead raised over $550,000.
#1. Carnivorous Furniture
When shopping for home furnishings, things to consider are: style, functionality, durability, versatility, and finally, perhaps most importantly — is it also a mouse guillotine?
Mice are enticed by leftover food scraps on top of the table. The only way up there from the mouse’s perspective is via one of the table’s legs, one of which just so happens to be invitingly hollow. Once a mouse manages to scramble all the way up to the hole in the center of the table — in full view of anyone who happens to be seated nearby at the time — it’s rewarded for its efforts by being decapitated by a rotating blade. The mousy remains are then dumped into a chemical bath, where they dissolve and are fed to a microbial fuel cell that proceeds to turn Mickey into electrical energy for the table.
We should mention at this point that the only reason the table requires electricity at all is to operate its digestive system and screen, making it a sort of disturbing, mouse-decapitating Matrix robot.
“Uh, shit, has anyone seen the cat?”
Inspired by the Venus flytrap’s ability to sustain itself without the benefit of sunlight, artists James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau designed said table, as well as a few other household items that can operate without ever having to plug into a wall or replace a battery. Instead, they get their power the way God intended: by eating meat. Like this digital wall clock rigged with a flypaper conveyor belt to collect and process energy-filled houseflies:
The grandfather clock version can consume an entire Jeff Goldblum.
There’s also a lamp that works under the same principle:
“We designed it with the eco-friendly key party enthusiast in mind.”
Although the inventors freely admit to making an artistic social statement with their creations, these products aren’t some pretentious art-hipster goof on the common man — they’re actually intended for the market. Auger suggests that having predatory furniture in the home can be as fun as watching a nature show, because “a fly buzzing around a window suddenly becomes an actor in a live game of life, as the viewer half wills it toward the robot and half hopes for its escape.”
Man, is there any way to talk about pest control without coming off like an anime villain?