Become a Superhero

And occupy Comic Con

Apr 21, 2014
Outside Magazine
OutsideOnline superpowers superhero Dark Knight Batman DC Marvel Comic Con street protest gecko Geckoskin polymer Spiderman

B. Super Utility Belt    Damon Ahola and Richard Clarkson/MFA Products of Design

Marvel and DC Comics nerds, unite!

Researchers at UMass Amherst just developed Geckskin, a polymer that might soon let anyone walk on walls.

To get the polymer to stick, researchers moved away from the industry's long-standing sole focus on the tiny hairs found on gecko's feet and successfully integrated the gecko's skin-tendon-bone system—with a novel pad design—for real-world application, according to a report published in Advanced Materials.

Are your spider senses tingling yet?

The second key development: By combining soft elastomers and ultrastiff fabrics (glass and carbon fiber), researchers were able to adjust the stiffness of Geckskin, optimizing it for a broader range of surfaces.

"The gecko's ability to stick to a variety of surfaces is critical for its survival, but it's equally important to be able to release and restick whenever it wants," a professor of polymer science at UMass Amherst told ScienceDaily. But these gloves are not the only soon-to-be staple of your secret lair.

On Friday, two art school students released the B. Super Utility Belt, which includes everything you need to survive a street protest.

So what's it got? A gas mask, sign-making kit, roll of duct tape, lemon juice (the homespun tear gas remedy), and a mustache disguise. Yes, some adhesive facial hair.

"We were trying to be respectful of the protester but at the same time pushing the boundaries of what would be fun," Richard Clarkson, co-developer of the master's project from the School of Visual Arts in New York, told FastCo.Exist. "Riding that line was interesting for us."

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