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CES 2014: A Bedbug Detector that Looks Interesting but has Detractors (Video) 72

Posted by Roblimo
from the sometimes-a-real-dog's-nose-is-better-than-an-electric-one dept.
This is a slightly puzzling product. To begin with, Christopher Goggin, shown as the inventor of the Electronic Dog Nose (as featured in Popular Science) may not be the actual inventor, at least according to some of the comments attached to that 2011 Popular Science article. Yet other comments on the same article claim that the unit Goggin supposedly ripped off is totally different from his, and doesn't work, while his does. A report (pdf) on bed-bugs.co.uk says the device "...clearly fails to perform to the manufacturers specification and procedures." Goggin's badge at CES showed his company affiliation as Datt Solutions Group, but Datt's website did not mention him as of Jan. 21, 2013, several weeks after CES 2014 closed. A New York Real Estate blog is skeptical, as are others. Goggin also claims to have a laser device that will kill the bedbugs you find. It sounds great. But a person who prefers the tried and true to new products that may or may not work might want to use old-fashioned, all-natural Diatomaceous earth, which kills not only bedbugs but other insect pests, and costs very little compared to most other methods. If that method doesn't work, then it may be time to try dogs, lasers, and other ways to find and kill bedbugs, which have been spotted everywhere from luxury hotels to housing projects, even in taxicabs and movie theaters.

Tim: So Chris, you are holding a device in your hands that you have invented, and it detects certain chemicals. Can you talk about what it detects?

Chris: Yes, this is a molecule detector for two organic compounds and they would be 2-octanol and 2-hexanol. Those are odors that come from certain places. And this product is designed to detect those two specific organic molecules.

Tim: Okay, now those are very specific molecules indeed. Why those two—and we will give this away—and what is it to detect?

Chris: Those two organic odors are the odors that bed bugs give off. They are distinct to bed bugs and not to any other insects. And by detecting those two odors, this product can help find or root out bed bugs that are burrowed into furniture, cracks, and crevices, bedding, warm socks on your nightstand. They are very difficult and time consuming to find. They are an insect like a lot of insects that have evolved over millions of years. So they are very good, very learned at hiding—that’s what they do best.

Tim: I am a little hesitant to ask but how badly do you need to detect these?

Chris: Well, a bed bug can be from anywhere from a fancy high end hotel to a very low end public housing. So they can be anywhere, they could be on a bus, airplane, movie theater, taxicab. But most of the time bed bugs are the result of just poor housekeeping in one place. And they are very portable insects so their eggs can stick to clothing, shoes, pocket books, wallets without you knowing that and then unknowingly be spread to very far flung places.

Tim: I understand that there are plenty of bed bugs to go around these days.

Chris: Yeah, and they make more every day. So yeah, there are plenty of bed bugs to go around.

Tim: Now since we are at the consumer electronics show, does this have a household and individual consumer target—who would buy a bed bug detector?

Chris: It varies, but originally mainly this product was for travelers for people that travel all over the world but also for hotels, for housekeeping in hotels, for institutions, hospitals places like that. And professionals for exterminators as well.

Tim: Let me ask because your logo over here has a hound dog in it, called the Electronic Dog Nose, how else are bed bugs are detected, are dogs actually a way to find them?

Chris: Yes, they are. A dog is a very good way of doing it. Dogs are trained to sniff out these two pheromones the 2-hexanol and octanol but a dog doesn’t know the name of that. They are basically trained for the odor, and they require to be refreshed every once in a while, they have to be retrained, so it is not something that a dog is trained once and then remembers. They have to be, once in a while, retrained for that. And the dogs, sometimes they have different personalities, some will jump on the furniture and run around the room quickly-others won’t.

Tim: They might have sympathy.

Chris: Yeah, they may have sympathy. And they will eat your M&Ms and crackers that fall down in the couch cushions that could have insecticides or diatomaceous earth. So it is not very good for the dog in a lot of cases because typically it is a dirty environment.

Tim: Now that you’ve geared everyone who watches this with the ubiquitous presence of these little things, what do you do? What can we do about bed bugs?

Chris: I am glad you asked that. We are different in our approach. The tried and true methods are professional exterminators that come in with insecticides, but due to days of DDT and some of these other agents that are very poisonous and long lasting that chemicals that are used aren’t very long lasting, so they have to be reapplied. And then there is diatomaceous earth which is a very fine powdery substance that basically gets on the bug and rubs on them and exposes their outer shell and they eventually die from that.

So for the most part, that’s the industry wide standard there; that is how they do it. But we have one unique way that is a little bit different than everybody else’s. So once we’ve detected bed bugs and we know where they are, in the cracks and crevices of furniture, what we do is we have a 540 nanometer blue laser. What we do is put a diffuser on the end of this laser so it is not going to harm anybody but it is strong enough to kill the bed bugs and the eggs.

So we put a diffuser on the end of this 2 watt laser. I am not going to turn it on now at the show because you do need to wear some goggles for that.It is just like a pen flashlight, you cycle the switch on the back, and you point the laser around the area where the cracks and crevices are, and you kill the eggs and the bed bugs.

Tim: What mechanism is this? Is it the heat? Is it the wavelength?

Chris: It is the heat, it is the heat energy, yes. So this is the 2 watt basically what they call burning type laser but it is stepped down, so it doesn’t actually burn anything. But it is heat energy, basically thermal energy that kills them. And then it is known that blue light like ultraviolet light up in the blue range are very effective for sterilization, cleaning, bugs and bacteria and virus. That’s basically what we do here. We do the same thing. So we don’t leave any chemicals for children or anyone to linger on or stain your furniture. And then you can go around the room quickly and right where the activity is, kill them and know that you got them the first time.

Tim: Now travelers here in Vegas for CES—how worried should they be? Have you ever run into any in any hotel rooms around the city?

Chris: Well, yeah, I can’t tell you where I’ve been, I’ve been on a lot of bed bug hunts.

Tim: You could give hints.

Chris: I could give hints. Well, from mild to wild from the high end to the low end basically from public housing to pent houses. They are everywhere. Bed bugs don’t care if you are in a pent house or if you are in public housing, or in a boxed space, they will just go after the nearest blood meal they can get and bite you and take their little blood meal and then they may come back for more later if you sleep or come back to the same place.

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CES 2014: A Bedbug Detector that Looks Interesting but has Detractors (Video)

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The summary read like random words in a blender

    I think some of the infinite monkeys have knocked off early today

    • Re:...what? (Score:4, Funny)

      by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @05:49PM (#46029779)

      The monkeys were fired after they got really smug about using Elizabethan English for *everything*.

  • by PktLoss (647983) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @05:37PM (#46029693) Homepage Journal

    The title leads me to think this is a video about a bed bug detector. The copy in the post goes on and on about where someone worked, or claimed to work, and what their website said...

    Please edit copy and try again.

    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      It's easier to just change the headline. I propose:

      Roblimo caught "editing" Slashdot story while intoxicated

  • by hamburger lady (218108) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @05:41PM (#46029713)

    this is a slightly puzzling summary.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A report (pdf) on bed-bugs.co.uk says the device "...clearly fails to perform to the manufacturers specification and procedures."

    Obviously, the device is running buggy firmware.

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      A report (pdf) on bed-bugs.co.uk says the device "...clearly fails to perform to the manufacturers specification and procedures."

      Obviously, the device is running buggy firmware.

      Oh great.. Now I have to clean my late afternoon coffee off the keyboard. Well played AC... Wish I had mod points...

      Remind me NOT to drink coffee and read /.

    • by Megane (129182)
      If the developers aren't sure what is needed to make it work properly, maybe they should sleep on it for a while.
  • by wcrowe (94389) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @05:43PM (#46029733)

    My hovercraft is full of eels.

    • by TeknoHog (164938)
      In that case, I'm sure you'll like our eel detector that looks interesting but has detractors (Video)!
    • The more I think about it, I have to admit that your post makes a lot more sense than the actual article. In regards to the eels, I recommend Fa-breeze.

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      My hovercraft is full of eels.

      I will not buy this tobacconist, it is scratched.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Or, as SLJ would say... "muthafukin eels om my muthafuckin hovercraft"

  • Greatest bedbug detector and eliminator in the world:

    http://gallery.photo.net/photo... [photo.net]

    Turn six of them loose in your house and you'll never see another bug again.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Let me guess how this ends. With gorillas dying when freezing weather hits?

    • by Megane (129182)
      ...and you'll save up to 15% on your auto insurance too!
    • by wcrowe (94389)

      When we lived down South, my wife would absolutely freak out when these things would get into the house. Then she got really furious when I suggested that we should leave them alone, they weren't hurting anyone, and they would keep down the bug population.

  • Nobody wants to stay in a hotel to sit in a movie theatre with yellow brown dirt everywhere. Depending on the size and wattage the laser idea could quickly disinfect rooms without leaving a mess. Or a portable one could run through once a week or so.

    • by Megane (129182)

      Nobody wants to stay in a hotel to sit in a movie theatre with yellow brown dirt everywhere.

      You mean that's not just popcorn dust?

  • by Antipater (2053064) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @05:55PM (#46029839)

    So he has a mechanical nose to detect them, and he has a point-and-shoot laser to kill them. Neither of those are a good idea.

    First of all, the detector. This one's the better of the two ideas. If it can do all that a dog can do, then it's probably worth it for someone uber-paranoid or in a high-risk environment. But it's 3-4 times the price of a dog visit, so someone who just wants a quick check around the apartment is better off with the dog. And that's still with the big IF it can do it as well as a dog.

    Oh, and his worries that a bug-dog will jump all over your furniture or eat poison are ludicrous. They're highly trained professionals, like their handlers. Not quite police-dog level, but close. A bug-dog that wrecks the place or eats poison will not be a bug-dog for long.

    Next topic - the laser. First of all, his statement about industry-standard insecticides is wrong. Only some exterminators still use pesticides for bedbugs; the others use heat. If they do use pesticide, there are new ones out there that are extremely potent and will not likely need to be reapplied. But the go-to treatment now is heat, and they do it in a much more effective way than this dumb laser. Bedbugs want to survive just like any other living creature - they will run away from a targeted blast of heat, and they'll run someplace the laser can't reach them, like inside the walls (if they weren't there already, which they probably were). Effective heat treatments raise the entire interior temperature of your apartment/house above bug-lethal temperatures. There is no escape.

    Don't buy from this guy. He knows a little about what he's talking about, but his solutions are the wrong solutions. If you think you have bedbugs, contact a professional pest control operator. They are extremely difficult to kill, and you will often only make the infestation worse if you try to DIY it.

    • by Antipater (2053064) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @06:12PM (#46029967)
      Oh, and I forgot to mention this quote:

      . But most of the time bed bugs are the result of just poor housekeeping in one place.

      Which is flat out false. Bedbugs have nothing to do with cleanliness or housekeeping. They eat blood, not trash. They are attracted to you, not your mess.

      • by msobkow (48369)

        Furthermore, they can hitch a ride on anyone who visits your house. You don't have to be a dumpster-diver to get them.

        I've had them. They're a major pain in the ass to get rid of when you can't afford the heat treatments.

        But what are you going to do? Seal yourself off and never allow any company over?

        Even then, your neighbour in the apartment building can get an infestation, and they do wander the halls.

      • by deconfliction (3458895) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @08:48PM (#46031395)

        It's also false because bedbugs are insanely awesome hiders (advanced persistent parasites). As someone that had them for 2 years spanning 2 residences, and was finally able to out-smart/engineer them (with heat in addition to ridiculous housekeeping measures), and now been rid of them for more than 2 years... I'm just saying, you gotta respect them. They are _nothing_ like roaches when it comes to 'poor housekeeping'. With roaches, you can do pretty well just by working on better housekeeping. With bedbugs, there is no fucking hope without further measures (heat- but done right, took me 3 months of 'heat waves' before I finally achieved full eradication, and my problem-space was much simpler than most peoples.

    • by jrumney (197329)

      Dogs are unclean animals. The idea of them coming into your house and jumping all over your furniture including the bed that you sleep on every night is repugnant to a pretty significant portion of the world's population. There is definitely a market for an alternative to that.

  • A bag cost nine bucks at a the farm store. Its not a poison. Its a FDA approved additive for livestock feed. It is composed of fossilized diatoms. Works well on fire ants also. Doesn't really kill them all, it just encourages them to move on. It will get rid of many small insects.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Yup - used it to de-flea the house after treating the pets.

      Oh, be sure to buy food grade though. The filtration-grade stuff (often used in pool filters) is treated differently and can cause lung problems if inhaled (silicates/etc). The food-grade stuff is, as the name suggests, suitable for ingestion. It isn't really used as an ingredient in human food, though it might very well be used in processing food (it is a decent filtration substrate, less effective than carbon but it lasts a lot longer).

      My under

  • Per companies a friend of mine contacted when they had a sudden infestation in a single bedroom, the only way to kill bedbugs (as of 2013, when it happened) was to seal up the room and literally bake the space at a really high temperature, for a day or two (I don't recall the exact timeframe, but it was substantial and sounded expensive, energy-wise.)

    That process kills the bugs, larvae, and eggs - everything. Nothing else is guaranteed to work - especially because of the really long gestation time of the eg

    • by bjdevil66 (583941)

      One other thing: Theaters being bedbug hangouts sounds crazy, but per the companies it is far more common than you'd think - and they are a real problem. A common transport vector is when a woman puts their purse on their floor of the theater, next to or under their seat. The bedbugs drop right into the open purse, she takes the purse home, they crawl out in your bedroom, and you suddenly have a real problem.

    • One source:

      100 minutes @ 106F

      25 minutes @ 109F

      4 minutes @ 113F

      1 minute @ 120F

      The caveat is the heat must penetrate at these temperatures into books, couch cushions, walls, bedding, etc. Every crevice the creature can hide in must reach the desired temperature before the time element kicks in.

  • Ugh it hasn't been "several" weeks since CES closed. My company was there so I know it ended Jan 10. Let's do some grade 1 math: Jan 21 (when this post was written) - Jan 10 = 11. Several is definitely plural, so you'd need at least 14 days. 14 > 11.
  • ...neither of which involve any sort of antenna stuck in the side of a Walkman.

    The first is a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. Moves the little bastards like you wouldn't believe.
    The second is a liberal spraying with a little cocktail of my own design: it consists of a few drops of clove oil, a quantity of organic solvent, and water. Kills anything with more than four legs stone dead instantly, doesn't aggravate my lung condition and doesn't smell like someone just fumigated the place. One treatment every

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @03:26AM (#46033465)

    Had a friend who had these. Nothing they tried worked.

    I found some sticky pads on the web (MUCH cheaper at farmer stores apparently).

    Put one under each bed leg.

    Problem solved very quickly.

    Also tried disposable plastic containers filled with Talc under each leg. That stopped the biting but didnt' kill the bugs.

    We were amazed by how many other bugs got caught on the things.
    Spiders-- silverfish-- doodle bugs-- no roaches so that was nice.

    Anyway recommend them. They will mess up carpet tho so you would need to put something under them if you have carpet.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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