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"What television does is rent us friends and relatives who are quite satisfactory. This is quite something, to rent artificial friends and relatives right inside the house."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Ultraflash  
  A device that sterilizes the skin by a pulse of light.  

Before entering the Wildfire research facility, researchers must sterilize.

A steel-walled cubicle, with a helmet on a peg. The sign said "This is an ultraflash apparatus. To protect head and facial hair, place metal helmet securely on head, then press button below.

Hall had never heard of ultraflash, and he followed directions, not knowing what to expect. He placed the helmet over his head, then pressed the button.

There was a single, brief, dazzling burst of white light, followed by a wave of heat that filled the cubicle. He flet a moment of pain, so swift that he hardly recognized it until it was over. Cautiously, he removed the helmet and looked at his body. His skin was covered with a fine, white ash - and then he realized that the ash was his skin, or had been: the machine had burned away the outer epithelial layers.

Technovelgy from The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton.
Published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1969
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  More Ideas and Technology from The Andromeda Strain
  More Ideas and Technology by Michael Crichton
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  Tech news articles related to works by Michael Crichton

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