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The New Power Suit

THE FUTURE Researchers all over the world are looking into electroactive polymer (EAP) actuators, artificial muscles possibly 200 percent stronger than those of the average person. EAP actuators could be woven into exoskeletons, which you may be able to wire to your brain someday. For quadriplegics, this could allow them full use of their body again.

WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU We're decades away from a working muscle suit, but before then we could see these actuators used in anti-frostbite socks and gloves, which would increase circulation in extremities. "In theory," says Gordon Giesbrecht, 45, a physiologist at Canada's University of Manitoba, "if you can increase your blood flow, you'll bring oxygen to your muscles, which would bring heat to your extremities and enhance performance." UNTIL THEN The first commercial application of EAP actuators has come from Japanese company Eamex, which developed a toy fish that uses them to swim. So keep training: It's going to be a long time before your Spider-Man suit comes off the rack.

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