The good news: scientists have developed a Star Trek-like phaser that can be set to stun. The bad news: it only works on worms so far.

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.

Well, it's a start I suppose. [Telegraph via The Daily What]