Admittedly, the team of French scientists have only so far done this in labs, but it still works a treat. The team can create a “virtual lightning rod” by using pulsed lasers to create a column of charged gas in thin air. That means that the lightning zips down the column of charged particles preferentially, eventually making its way to what is supposed to be a less attractive spot for the lightning to hit.
The research, published in AIP Advances, claims that it could be used to shift the spot that lightning strikes by up to 50m. While the researchers have their thoughts on maybe, you know, saving lives using the technology, the supervillain in all of us knows full well that this should appear in the next Bond movie. [AIP Advances via PhysOrg]