Tiny Plasma Blowtorch Doesn't Let Your Teeth Join the Dark Side

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Described as a cross between a lightsaber and Listerine, scientists at the University of Southern California have invented a tiny, world's first, plasma blowtorch that is to be used for medical procedures—specifically in annihilating plaque.

Although shooting a stream of plasma into your mouth sounds painful, the blowtorch actually works in small pulses, which lets the flame's gasses ionize and cool down a little before they can burn you. So far, dentists have only used this technology to sterilize teeth during root canals, but have a few other ideas on where else to use it—perhaps, in the future, zapping away diseases on your genitals? [R and D via PopSci]