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Your Guide to Real Life Superhero Equipment

Let's be honest... if you could gain amazing powers by stumbling clumsily into an industrial accident then someone in Florida would already have done it. Not a man among us is going to get anything from an irradiated spider bite but a bitch kitty of an infection and maybe cancer. Don't worry, though, there's always the Batman route of gadgetry, and it's only getting better and better!

The man who inspired me to write this little guide was Everett Bradford. After a long research period he's more or less perfected a glove that let's you shoot fire. For those of you that always wanted to carry a flamethrower but not be burdened with the giant tank, here's your pyromanic dream. The range isn't stellar, about only six feet counting the outstretched arm, but that's six feet further than you could set people on fire from before.

As popular as Wolverine it's no wonder that attempts to build his famous retractable claws are quite popular. There are dozens of different variations out there on YouTube, but user Abonude's version is one of the better ones. There's no palm release like many other models, so you could maybe combine it with the Prometheus device for maximum melee damage. The claws are released by centrifugal force, which can be deployed from any angle as the end of a swing. As you can see in the video they are also perfectly concealed in a jacket.

What do Mormons and Batman have in common? I have no idea, but thanks to Brigham Young University students we're one step closer to Batman's famous grapple gun that allows him to maneuver the city rooftops and descend on criminals like, well, a bat. Fired from a handheld pistol and allowing a user to ascend up to 90 feet, the device was the result of an Air Force competition to produce better ascension technology.

Still on the Batman theme, a Vietnamese man has cobbled together a pretty damn accurate copy of the Batpod from the Nolan trilogy. It's not 100 percent accurate obviously. The front wheel lacks the rotating capabilities for example, but it's a good first try.

I don't know what it is about Utah engineering students and the desire to emulate superheroes, but here's another great example. The Ascending Aggies at the Utah State University School of Engineering sought to make Spider-Man's wallcrawling skill a reality. While it's not exactly sleek, the vacuum powered device inarguably gets you up a sheer wall at an unbelievable speed. It's also not very stealthy, but if you were climbing like Spider-Man would you want people to not notice?

Blame it on the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies, but the last decade has seen great strides in the field of invisibility. There are not one, but two promising lines of development in the works. UT Dallas is using heated nanotubes that bend light similar to heat shimmer, while Harvard is onto something so hardcore science-y that I'm just going to link to the story rather than try to translate something I'm not awesome enough to understand.

If you watched Iron Man and wondered why the United States military hasn't gone that route, it's not from lack of trying. We've been trying to develop powered exoskeletons for years, and in many cases have accomplished the deed. Defense contractor Raytheon in Salt Lake City (I give up) has the XOS-2. The powered armor amplifies a user's strength by 1,700 percent, and wears as easily as Tony Stark's work. The only current problem right now is powering the thing. Trailing a plug isn't really an option, and if the batteries are damaged they can explode.

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