Paralysis Ray Uses Photocontrolled Molecular Switch

A paralysis ray has been created by Canadian researchers Neil Branda and his colleagues. It requires that the test animal be thoroughly dosed with a "Photocontrolled Molecular Switch" - effectively, a poison that is just waiting to be activated.

Having stuffed their victims with this terrifying compound, the boffins then "irradiated" them with a particular wavelength of ultraviolet rays. This tripped the UV-sensitive "switch" compound, causing instant flaccidity and empurplement.

Branda and his pals then tried out the reversibility part of the kit, zapping the creatures with a different ray intended to turn off the switch and return to them control of their own bodies.

This didn't work nearly as well. "Many [of the test subjects] lived through the paralyze-unparalyze cycle", report the boffins.

However it's important to note that so far the technology is verified to work only on pinhead-sized nematode worms...

You may be stunned to learn that science fiction writers have been writing about paralysis rays for quite a while. In his 1938 story Satellite Five, Arthur K. Barnes wrote about paralysis rays (this is also a very early use of the phrase):

"I have invented a weapon, Miss Carlyle, that will render the monster on Satellite Five helpless!" he proclaimed dramatically. "A paralysis ray!" Gerry was dubious. She had seen abortive attempts at paralysis rays before.

"What's it's principle?" she asked.

"The transmission of a nerve impulse along the nerve fiber is provided by local electrical currents within the fiber itself... Passage over the junction point between cells is effected by a chemical transmitter, acetylcholine...

"This, in effect," went on Professor Lunde in lecture style, "produces a neutron stream... And the penetrating neutron blast destroys the acetylcholine by adding to its atomic structure, thus making it so extremely unstable that it breaks itself up at once."

Heinlein fans may recall his paralysis bombs and let's not forget the para-beam from the works of E.C. Tubb.

You could also go the other way on this story, and look at the material that is first injected and then activated, which may remind you of the residual poison developed by Piter de Vries in Frank Herbert's Dune.

You might also be interested in this Paralysis Beam From Peak Beam Systems .

Via The Register; thanks to Winchell Chung for suggesting this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/19/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Biology ")

Svalbard Seed Vault (aka Doomsday Vault) Gets Upgrades
'But they existed in the Life Bank, as did virtually every plant and animal that existed on Old Earth.' - John Varley, 1977.

China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?' - Niven, Pournelle, Flynn, 1995.

Hackers Insert Malware Into DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!' -

Worms Eat Plastic Now
'Slowly and inexorably, the rate of dissolution increased...' - Davis/Pedlar, 1971.



Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.






Current News

Save Your Brain's Connectome, Upload Yourself Elsewhere
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

TMS Decreases Belief In God, Increases Belief In Immigrants
'... setting up the same currents, the same basic ideas, in them all.'

Loomo Mini Transporter Robot Companion You Ride On
'Slowly the [robot] horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

Soft Robotics - Now With 3D Printed Sensors!
'A series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce the amount of pressure necessary to snap a bone...'

AI Tool Lynx Insight And The Cybernetic Newsroom
'The structure,... was once a great homeostatic newspaper, the New York Times. It printed itself directly below us...'

Espresso Telescope Searches For Exoplanets
'These instruments were the wonderful ones our astronomers had perfected.'

Dune Fans! Metal-Organic Frameworks Make Science Fiction Real
'Dew collectors,' he muttered, enchanted by the simple beauty of such a scheme.

Manned Maneuvering Unit From 1984
'The glittering little rocket bolted to the black iron behind him.'

Astronaut Gets Younger In Space
'So what we're looking for now is not an antibiotic - an anti-life drug - but an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug...'

Blockchain Used To Verify Election Results
'Any adult could punch into the phone his or her code, followed by a yes or no.'

IJOP Integrated Joint Operations Platform China's Minority Report?
'All day long the idiots babbled, imprisoned in their special high-backed chairs...'

HushMe Bluetooth Device Reinvents The Hush-A-Phone
'Talking into a hush-a-phone which he had plugged into the telephone jack...'

Ultrathin Brain Needle Developed At MIT
Putting drugs into a selected cubic millimeter within the living brain.

Tesla Semi Truck Now At Work
Why wait? Tesla Semi now hard at work.

Illustris: The Next Generation Of Universe Simulation
'This digital device was ... A machine able literally to contain the Universe Itself...'

Scaly Yet Soft Robotic Snake
Love those robotic sneks.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.