Scientists from the University of Illinois in Chicago have developed a suit, called SpiderSense, that has small robotic arms packaged in modules with microphones that send out and pick up ultrasonic reflections from objects.
When the ultrasound detects a person moving closer to the microphone, the arms respond by exerting a growing pressure on the body.
Seven of these modules are distributed across the suit to give the wearer close to 360 degree ultrasound coverage, according to New Scientist.
“When someone is punching Spider-Man, he feels the sensation and can avoid it. Our suit is the same concept,” Victor Mateevitsi, the maker of the suit said.
He said that SpiderSense could help blind people to find their way more easily
Mateevitsi tested the suit out on students, getting them to stand outside on campus, blindfolded, and “feel” approaching attackers.
Each wearer had ninja cardboard throwing stars to use whenever they sensed someone approaching them.
He said that 95 percent of the time they were able to sense someone approaching and throw the star at them.
Mateevitsi’s work is a step on the road to giving humans truly integrated extrasensory perception, Gershon Dublon of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who also works on augmenting parts of the human body said.
Mateevitsi wants to use the suit, or just a few sensors on the arms and back, to boost cyclists’ awareness of other traffic on the road.
The team now plans to add more sensors to the suit to increase its resolution.