Bacteria-killing prototype relies on plasma, could obsolete hand washing

Time to get your science fiction hats on, but leave the fiction visor off this time. The BBC has gotten all hot and bothered today about a newly published research report indicating a significant advancement in the field of plasma-based disinfection of both healthy and wounded human skin. Yes, the same stuff that drives your big-ass television is also capable -- in a gaseous form -- of interacting with the oxygen, nitrogen, and water vapor in the air to create a concoction lethal to bacteria and fungi, but innocuous to humanoids. The big breakthrough here is that mass production of such devices is finally possible at rates affordable enough to makes them commonplace in hospitals, tattoo shops and the like. Additionally, an argon-based "plasma torch" has been shown to accelerate wound healing, though it's not certain whether this happens through the particular effects of the plasma, or through the reduction of bacteria infesting the wound. The fact the researchers themselves don't know is both unnerving and strangely fun at the same time. We've got a shot of the prototype after the break and the entire paper is available at the read link, if you feel like a geek binge.