Kim Zetter attended TED:
The device was crafted from parts purchased on eBay by scientists at [Nathan] Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures Laboratory. As Myhrvold explained, a child dies every 43 seconds from malaria. Current methods for eradicating the disease aren’t working very well. There’s no viable vaccine yet, and although mosquito nets work, people don’t always use them. When given free nets by public health organizations, many people in the developing world use the nets for fishing instead. So until the time comes when malaria can be controlled, Intellectual Ventures thought it might be a good idea to try to control mosquitoes.
Mark Frauenfelder snapped some photos of the death ray. Youtube, as is wont, got there first: