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Researcher develops Spidey-sense suit

by Mike Hoffman on February 28, 2013

A researcher is working on a suit that could give a soldier Spidey-sense that Spider-Man enjoys. That’s right, the ability to sense approaching objects without looking at or hearing them.

Victor Mateevitsi, a PhD student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is developing a wearable suit that would provide the person a sixth sense. He has even called the project SpiderSense with a nod to the Marvel comic hero.

The way the suit works is it picks up on ultra sonic reflections from objects that are coming toward it. Once it senses the object, the suit can moves the arms and legs to adapt to the object.

He has already tested it on students that he blindfolded to see if they could still have 360-degree awareness. When someone approached the person wearing the suit while blindfolded,Mateevitsi had the person throw a cardboard ninja star at them. Ninety-five percent of the time the person wearing the suit was able to sense the approaching individual.

Mateevitsi is not working with the U.S. military yet. He said he could foresee his suit helping blind people.

However, the military is aware of Mateevitsi. On Thursday morning, the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command Twitter handle tweeted a story about Mateevitsi’s research.

The U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has already shown interest in developing Spider-Man like capabilities for servicemembers. DARPA’s lab has started work on developing “biologically inspired aids” to allow soldiers, Marines or special operators to scale walls wearing Spider-Man suits.

The Geckskin project, however, has hit a roadblock as the program looks for additional funding.

It’s likely that there will be at least a few military observers Mateevitsi’s SpideySense suit when he presents it in March at the 4th Augmented Human International Conference in Stuttgart, Germany.

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