Soap is dead. Never stood a chance, really. It had a good run, but the age of washing our hands in plasma-gas filled boxes has finally dawned.
As the NY Times has it, several laboratories are working on the technology, which bathes your hand in room-temperature plasma gas to kill even industrial grade bacteria like MRSA. Or your foot, to knock down athlete's foot.
It's got a clear and present destiny in hospital use, where doctors and nurses could kill off lingering bacteria, viruses, and fungi in as little as four seconds - as opposed to the time-intensive scrubbing process they endure today.
Prototypes exist today that are both portable and wall-mounted, and they can cost as little as $US100 to build. And it won't stop at just hand sanitisers: eventually you may see plasma gas incorporated into air-conditioning systems and burn treatments.