Everybody wants superpowers, from the simple innocence of a child yearning for flight to the sad perversion of the Amish man praying for x-ray vision powerful enough to peep a lady’s calves. We all want to be superhuman, and you can start right now! This is but a sample of some of the currently existing (or soon to be developed) devices that can lend the average man abilities previously relegated to world of comic books.
Leg amputees, if not wheelchair-bound, are often left struggling with awkward prosthetics, canes, and crutches. But now, with the aid of newly developed super-legs, even double amputees can run every bit as well as some of the world’s fastest sprinters. This all began in the 2000 paralympics (which I promise is a real thing and not just me being a bastard about wordplay) with a South African man named Oscar Pistorius who became the first amputee to complete the 200-meter dash in under 22 seconds, beating the previous world record, held by one Brian Frasure.
But there is some controversy over the legs’ use. While they only put out a 95% return of force as compared to the normal human legs’ 200% return, the running prosthetics also give the user a springing gait and increased stride distance, which could lend them an unfair advantage as well as a jaunty disposition. Considering that this story took place in the ancient days of the year of our lord, 2000, and the fact that the legs have since gone through countless permutations by a myriad of companies, many designs endow abilities well beyond typical human capacity. But there is a great tragedy being overlooked in this story: Brian Frasure, the previous world record holder, actually helped design these prosthetic carbon-fiber feet, and he was the one who gave them to Pistorius…who promptly proceeded to wipe Frasure from the record books with them.
The poor bastard. He’s probably working on a time machine right now, to prevent himself from ever building these legs. If so, knowing his track record, he will most likely be thwarted when somebody inevitably uses that time machine to steal his plans and then invent it before him. He will die as he lived, crippled (by irony.)
D3O (d-3-o) is an exciting new development in bulletproofing material and not, as it sounds, a generic brand version of a Star Wars robot. Or rather, it’s an impact proof material which, in conjunction with already existing bulletproof materials, could provide true invulnerability to most gunshot wounds. As it stands now, you can survive many gunshot wounds with traditional Kevlar, but are likely to feel pretty poor afterwords, as the distributed force causes fleshwounds, broken bones and large concentric bruises – like getting your ass beat by the atmosphere. Oftentimes the impact from surviving a gunshot will temporarily knock the victim unconscious as well, leaving them vulnerable with a guy that has already made his feelings clear through the administration of bullets.
But D3O is set to stop that: It works kind of like cornstarch -iIt starts off as gel, but gets proportionally harder when more force is exerted on it (the dick joke here is just too easy, I have my standards.) When soft, the substance allows for greater flexure, but when rigid can reduce the strength of a bullet impact by more than half. And that’s what she said (I hate myself.)
The UK Ministry of Defense has already commissioned body and head armor using the new substance, obviously seeing the potential for better protection… or just because it looks really, really fun to grab. We’re talking bubble-wrap levels of tactile stimulation here, people.
Scientists are getting damn close to inventing a true invisibility cloak. Previous efforts, like the one pictured before – while still scarily advanced – are nonetheless always slightly inaccurate, because they rely on a camera/projector technique. Recently, a paper published in the March 2009 issue of SIAM Review collected all that we currently know about the method of invisibility, and it turns out it’s a lot.
We can not only render things invisible in theory by bending light waves around an object, but have even progressed so far as to be developing the metamaterials needed to bring the theory to life.
So, while it’s incredibly close but currently theoretical in the private sector, who’s to say that better-funded government scientists don’t already have a secret working prototype? How would you know, after all? They could be there right now…they could be….right…BEHIND YOU! Nah, I’m just kidding. Why would they be behind you? They’re invisible, after all. They’re probably right in front of you. Or in your bathroom, depending on their inherent creepiness and the severity of their pervert-mustache.
Some of us, as children, saw Spider-man’s amazing agility and web-swinging prowess and were immediately struck with jealous awe. The desperation even had some of us – who shall remain unnamed and are in no way me – microwaving spiders in an attempt to harness their radioactive bite (all right, so some of us were a little more retarded than others.) Not like Liming Dai, and Zhong Lin Wing, two professors at the universities of Dayton and Georgia Tech, respectively, who invented a material with ten times better proportional sticktion (I swear to god that’s also a word) than a Gecko’s foot.
The true awesomeness of the material, however, is that the nanotube spatulae (basically microscopic hairs) design also allows the material to pull free with a well-placed tug, letting you adhere to virtually any surface as well as quickly remove from that surface for redeployment. Or, as your childhood selves would understand it: Holy Shit! We get to swing on webs now!
So on the upside: Childhood dreams realized! Let’s get to work on making Transformer Best Friends a reality and we’re all set. On the downside? Prepare for a massive Darwinian strike aimed solely at the ADD infested nerd-children of America. Their awkward, flailing flips and mid-air somersaults shall bring a reaping as terrible to endure as it is hilarious to see.
Rob Spence, a filmmaker from Canada, had his eye wounded in a shooting accident as a child. Presumably furious at its weak character and lazy work ethic, Spence asked doctors to just completely remove it a few years ago, and now he’s getting it replaced with a small camera (of the type normally used for colonoscopies,) a battery, and a wireless transmitter – effectively turning him into a human documentarian capable of recording, broadcasting, and relaying literally everything he sees, as he sees it.
Clearly this is an advantage over other, larger, more expensive filmmaking crews, as it not only gives Scott a completely secret way to record, but makes him basically the world’s smallest, cheapest studio. But god, consider what he’s sacrificed to get here! Not only has he been shot in the eye, but he’s demanded that said eye be removed, years later, and then replaced with something that normally goes up your butt. The man’s got a butt-eye for christ’s sake! Van Gogh may have cut off his ear, but until he replaces it with a dick, Rob Spence wins for craziest gesture in the name of art, hands down.