Spidey Sense is Now an Attainable Superpower

We all know that your chances of getting bit by a radioactive spider in this reality are somewhat slim, but what science taketh away it can surely giveth in some other form, right? Turns out, if you want Spidey Sense, you may only have to wear some weird clothes. With wires and stuff. Hey, it’s the future?

A very cool Ph.D. candidate at University of Illinois has created a device he calls SpiderSense, essentially a “wearable device that projects the wearer’s near environment on the skin and allows for directional awareness of objects around him.” This handy piece of tech, which takes the form of a suit (that is not skintight, sadly) has sensors that provide 360 degree coverage, exerting pressure on the skin based on obstacles in the person’s environment. One of the super clever aspects of the suit is that it reacts differently to the size of the obstacle—so you’ll be able to tell it you’re about to trip over a turtle, or, conversely, if you’re being stalked.

The prototype apparently only cost 500 dollars to build, and considering that some people pay that much to wear a plain old regular suit, is there any chance that people wouldn’t spend money of this?

Spidey Sense is Now an Attainable Superpower

Photo by Lance Long.

One of the tests used to try the system was appropriately themed: they blindfolded the wearers and had fake attackers approach them at random, instructing the subjects to throw cardboard ninja stars in the directions that the threats were coming from. The wearer did not just throw in a vaguely correct direction—the ninja stars successfully found the attackers with a 95 percent rate of accuracy. So yes, this suit does make it much easier to achieve the superpowers you have been longing for.

And there are lots of practical applications to SpiderSense that don’t have anything to do with fighting crime. Creator Victor Mateevitsi points out that it would be useful in hazardous working conditions, and even on a smaller scale, such as sensors to help cyclists gain a heightened awareness of traffic around them, or elderly persons with poor vision to reduce falls.

What do you think? Are you ready to hand over some fancy money-type paper for one of these beauties now, or would you prefer a more couture version?

[Via CNet News]

Emmet Asher-Perrin would like a Magneto suit now too, if you please. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.


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