Bzzt…Disinfecting the World with a Flashlight

Disinfecting people and surgical tools has always been quite a difficult thing to get right because bacteria are everywhere. Outside of a hospital it can even be harder, but now we may have found the answer in the form of a flashlight.

This flashlight uses cold plasma to kill bacteria in only a few minutes. The plasma itself is produced by electrical discharges. These gases which consist of free electrons and other ions have been shown to heal wounds, kill cancer cells, and destroy other pathogens.

Ok, nobody knows exactly how they work, however the current theory is that plasma generates reactive oxygen molecules in the air. They apparently oxidise the membranes of cells and attack their DNA to eliminate them from our world.

The important thing to mention is that devices such as these are prototypes and are not safe to use, as of yet. As of now, they have the drawbacks of needing a power source to generate the electrical discharges or an external gas supply to sustain all the plasma. This means that plasma devices can really be only used in designated facilities. In other words, they are not particularly great for melting faces out in the field.

However, back to the plasma flashlight, this newest device was created by a team working out of the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China. Xinpei Lu, the engineer who led the team, has claimed that the device can be powered by a conventional 12-volt battery, operated without a gas supply in the open air, and can be taken around quickly and easily. And that means that disinfecting people anywhere will be made easy.

Rightly, many will say that this battery can’t create plasma. And it can’t, which is why a DC booster, which can be found anywhere, can boost the voltage to a massive 10 kilovolts. One output is connected to the shell of the device, whereas the other output goes to the 12 fine, steel needles to create a fast-moving electrical discharge. And the flashlight is safe to touch because ballast resistors are used to limit the current.

Even though it will have to go through consistent clinical testing before it can begin disinfecting people, the group is saying it’s basically a commercial device already. In spite of these successes, we won’t be seeing it in the West anytime soon because our clinical trials generally take a very long time, but countries like Thailand, Mexico, and Costa Rica will see the use of this technology much quicker.

Ok, it’s great that we have created something like this, but this writer’s question is when will we see cold plasma turned into a weapon? If it can kill bacteria by destroying their membranes and DNA then surely all you have to do is find a way to increase the power and then it can work on humans?

My prediction is that it’s only a matter of time before this medical device turns into the path which leads us to the next generation of dangerous weaponry.