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SpiderSense ultrasound suit gives wearers a sixth sense

SpiderSense ultrasound suit (Credit: Lance Long)

New wearable technology under development at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) offers users a sixth sense, allowing them to feel when objects are approaching their bodies. Dubbed SpiderSense after Spider-Man's famous superpower, the suit is the work of UIC PhD student Victor Mateevitsi and functions through the use of a series of small, directional ultrasound microphones. When a microphone module detects movement, it triggers a corresponding robotic arm, exerting a small amount of pressure on the relevant area of the wearer's body.

Mateevitsi has tested his creation on fellow students

According to a report from New Scientist, Mateevitsi has tested his creation on fellow students — blindfolding his subjects, he gave them a cardboard ninja star to throw at any approaching "enemies," a test which produced a 95 percent hit rate. Less violent uses for the technology include deployment as a safety system for cyclists, allowing them to sense the approach of cars and other vehicles.

Mateevitsi will present SpiderSense in full at the 4th Augmented Human International Conference in Stuttgart next month, alongside collaborators Brad Haggadone, Jason Leigh, Brian Kunzer, and Robert Kenyon. Further research from UIC's Electronic Visualization Laboratory, including work on virtual reality and so-called "tele-immersion," can be found on the lab's website.

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