Ah, science. What would we do without you? You make everything just plain awesome. And you keep on topping yourself each time.
Case in point: scientists have created a way to create a phaser that causes paralysis. You know, as in “set phasers to stun.”
Scientists have developed a Star Trek-like phaser, capable of causing paralysis with a beam of light.
A phaser traditionally emits a beam capable of stunning or killing an enemy. However, anyone hoping that the machine will become a powerful new weapon could be disappointed, scientists have only proven the effect on worms.
Researchers have now found a way to paralyse tiny worms when they expose them to ultraviolet light. Even when the ultraviolet light was turned off the animals stayed stunned. However, if they were subsequently exposed to a different form of light they recovered again and were able to move.
The researchers claim that this is the first time that such an effect has been demonstrated in an animal. Although some of the worms died, most of them lived through the process. The effect is caused by using a molecule which changes its shape when exposed to ultraviolet light.
The scientists, from Simon Fraser University in Canada, fed the molecule to the worms and then tested what happened when they exposed them to the light. The team behind the study claim that the phaser could someday be used as a treatment for medical conditions, but admit that they are as yet unsure what they would be.
The findings are published in Journal of the American Chemical Society.