Victor Mateevitsi has created a way for you to skip the Peter Parker and go straight to being Spider-Man. And this doesn't involve some Toys"R"Us hand-held web shooters. Instead, the University of Illinois at Chicago grad student has invented a bodysuit (called SpiderSense) that offers real-life "Spidey Sense."
To catch up our non-Spider-Man-reading readers, one of his many superpowers was being able to sense where things, such as buildings, fists and trees, were. The suit does the same exact thing.
The suit is made of small robotic arms inside microphone-equipped modules. Seven of these arms attach to the body, covering the suit. Each microphone sends and receives ultrasonic reflections of the things around you i.e. buildings, furniture, trees, etc.
If the ultrasound detects something that's moving closer to the mic, those robot arms push on the body section nearest to the object. In other words, if you're walking toward a knee-high table that's slightly to your left, the suit would push on your left knee.
To test the suit, Mateevitsi blindfolded a bunch of folks, put them in the suits and gave them cardboard throwing stars. The idea was that these subjects would toss the stars in the direction of any "threats" a.k.a. non-blindfolded volunteers whose job it was to move toward the blindfolded ones. Nine-five percent of the time, the blindfolded subjects managed to toss their stars on target.
A suit like this has major implications outside of the awesome geek factor. For one, bikers could wear these while traversing busy city streets and be forewarned of impending traffic. For another, it could become a revolutionary tool for the the visually impaired.
Plus, you know, the awesome geek factor.