A Star Trek-like phaser, capable of causing paralysis with a beam of light, whose effects have been proven on worms has been developed by scientists.
A phaser traditionally emits a beam capable of stunning or killing an enemy.
According to a report in the Telegraph, scientists have now found a way to paralyze 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 that changes its shape when exposed to ultraviolet light.
The scientists, from Simon Fraser University in Canada, fed the molecule to the worms and then tested what happened when they exposed them to the light.
The team behind the study claim that the phaser could someday be used as a treatment for medical conditions, but admit that they are as yet unsure what they would be.