Amazing Spider-Man in Real Life: Scientists Create Spidey Sense Suit
The odds of wandering into the wrong corner of a laboratory and being bitten by a radioactive/genetically engineered spider and gaining superpowers are just about next to zero. This isn’t ‘Amazing Spider-Man.’ It’s time to give up on that childhood dream: you’re never going to be Spider-Man. Sorry to break that news, guys. However, a researcher at the University of Illinois has created the next best thing: a suit that will give you Spidey’s trademark “Spider Sense.”
In the Spider-Man comics and movies, Peter Parker’s most valuable superpower is not his webslinging or his wall-crawling, but rather his sixth sense for danger, letting him know if trouble is afoot and allowing him to escape dangerous situations with ease. It may sound like total fantasy, but thanks to the power of science, this sixth sense may become a reality.
The creation of computer science grad student Victor Mateevitsi, the “SpiderSense” suit lets you “feel” nearby objects, alerting you if you’re about to bump into something or letting you know that a deranged supervillain is rushing at you while you have your back turned. Here’s how it works:
The suit is composed of small, robotic arms encased in microphone-equipped modules attached to one’s body. The mics send out and receive ultrasonic reflections from objects within one’s environment. If the ultrasound detects a person or thing moving closer to the mic, the robotic arms respond by putting pressure on the corresponding body section from wherever the “threat” is coming.
As Mateevitsi says: “When someone is punching Spider-Man, he feels the sensation and can avoid it. Our suit is the same concept.” As if the suit itself wasn’t cool enough, Mateevitsi tests it by blindfolding the wearer, arming them with cardboard throwing stars and having someone “attack them.” In 95% of the tests, the wearer was able to sense and take down his opponent.
Although Mateevitsi plans to develop the suit for cyclists and the visually impaired, he could turn a tidy profit by releasing a red and blue version with a spider on the chest. After all, every kid wants to be Spider-Man…even the grown ones.