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Sci-Tech

Prototype bodysuit tingles your Spidey senses

You don't need to be bitten by a radioactive spider to get a super-power. All you need is a special suit.

(Credit: Marvel)

You don't need to be bitten by a radioactive spider to get a super-power. All you need is a special suit.

Spider-Man's iconic blue-and-red suit is not the source of his powers; but he's still the superhero whose powers most closely match the prototype suit for which he has been named.

SpiderSense, by Victor Mateevitsi of the University of Chicago, is a bodysuit that lets the wearer "feel" obstacles in their environment.

It does this through a series of modules equipped with robotic arms and tiny microphones. These microphones send out ultrasonic signals, which it packs up again after they are reflected back off nearby objects. When an object is detected getting closer, the arms respond be exerting pressure on the suit's wearer.

Mateevitsi told New Scientist, "When someone is punching Spider-Man, he feels the sensation and can avoid it. Our suit is the same concept".

The other, perhaps more exciting use of the technology, is that it could drastically improve the lives of the sight-impaired, effectively enabling them to "see"; although, steps leading down could pose a problem.

Of course, since the technology is closer to the ultrasound used by all-but-blind bats to get around, and since technology itself is more of a different superhero's gig, well, you can probably guess our suggestion for the suit's name.

SpiderSense will be unveiled at the Augmented Human conference in Stuttgart, Germany, on 7-8 March.

Via www.newscientist.com