Science brings comic book superpowers to life

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

Mini X-ray
The Mini Cooper company shows off its x-ray vision capabilities, which can help drivers avoid crashing into unseen dangers and pedestrians, like the skater shown here.

Ever wished you could fly through the air like Superman or heal from injuries as fast as Wolverine? Well, modern science is starting to make superpowers possible, thanks to advances in bionics and engineering.

Take exoskeletons, for example. Suiting up in one of these machines can make you feel Hulk-tastic, since high-tech fibers from companies like Lockheed Martin offer extra strength. They’ve made exoskeletons that can allow users to lift 44 pounds of weight without muscle strain. Next-gen versions will let you carry 5 times the weight!

More interested in turning invisible like Harry Potter? Well, special “metamaterials” are being developed that can bend light and shadow to make you invisible to the naked eye, as well as sonar and radar scanners. Duke University scientists, for example, have created an invisibility cloak that make small objects seem to vanish, while Nanyang Technology University researchers have successfully hidden a cat and a goldfish with fancy devices. Most of these modern cloaks only work if you’re looking at the object from a specific direction, but futuristic metamaterials will be able to do wacky things like project images from thousands of mini-cameras to make you appear see-through.

For those of you wanting to blast through the skies like Iron Man, check out the latest Martin Jetpack. This incredible gadget can take you up to heights of nearly 3,300 feet and rocket through the skies at 45 miles per hour. Talk about skipping the school bus and never being late for class again!┬áIf you have a rough landing, don’t worry, because computer chip implants will be able to enhance your body’s healing. Wearables like Apple Watch are already able to monitor your health, so the next step would be programming teensy-weensy microchips to travel through your body and help close up wounds. The USA’s military has already begun designing brain implants to fix damage from war injuries, by stimulating cells and treating them.

Featured image courtesy of DC Comics. Image of x-ray car vision courtesy of Mini and BMW.