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Watercooler Ammo
March 13, 2013
Spider Senses


Columbia Pictures

Anyone can have Spiderman’s sixth sense with the new SpiderSense suit, built by Victor Mateevitsi of the University of Illinois in Chicago. The SpiderSense suit has small robotic arms with modules containing microphones that can pick up on ultrasonic reflections from objects. When the suit detects someone moving closer, the arms apply pressure on the body to alert the wearer. There are seven of these modules placed around the suit, giving the wearer close to 360 degrees of awareness.

Mateevitsi tested the suit on blindfolded students armed with cardboard ninja throwing stars; they were told to throw the stars at approaching attackers. According to Mateevitsi, the students were successful at sensing someone nearby (and throwing a ninja star at them) 95 percent of the time. In addition to encouraging our superhero dreams, the suit could be useful in aiding the blind to sense movement around them. Tests with the visually impaired are planned; Spidermen need not apply.

PS: We don't sell superhero suits or ninja stars but we are celebrating Pi and Einstein Days -- both on March 14! Head over to the mental_floss store for awesome Einstein and Pi products like math clocks, pi coasters, and bobbleheads.

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