superhumanscience

6 Ways Science And Fiction Are Colliding To Create Real Life Superpowers

Abilities once regarded as fiction or magic are now closer than ever to becoming scientifically feasible.

Here are superhuman powers that science is taking steps toward making a reality.

1. Breathing without air

injection
Photo courtesy of Stephen Depolo via Flickr.

Injectable oxygen has been in development for several years already – the technology that in practice would be injected into the bloodstream of an individual who can no longer draw in oxygen from the atmosphere.

These injectable microparticles are actually tiny capsules filled with small bubbles of oxygen gas, which collide with red blood cells and enter the bloodstream, temporarily eliminating the need for lung capacity.

In theory, this technology could be used to help medical patients, or anyone without air – for example, people in deep pollution or outer space.

2. Invisibility

invisible
Photo courtesy of bluesbby via Flickr.

Invisibility may seem like a certain wizard-specific technology, but in reality the capability has been researched and tested for years, especially for military usage.

Up until recently, it’s been possible to avert visibility using reflective and perspective tricks – but now, a certain metamaterial has proved capable of actually masking visible light.

Developed by researchers at the University of Central Florida, this fishnet-like metamaterial is composed of layered silver and dielectric composite films. Created using a nanotransfer printing technique, the material effectively masks the visible light spectrum, bending it around the object so the naked eye can’t perceive it.

3. X-Ray vision

xrayvision
Photo courtesy of Jack Mallon via Flickr.

And speaking of seeing through things, X-Ray vision technology is another power of the sci-fi persuasion that is currently being developed by the military, among others, to allow people to see through solid walls.

Surprisingly, this is one technology that may be sooner commercially available than others. In fact, MIT researchers plan to bring it to smart phone devices, which can in theory utilize wifi signals to detect moving objects – namely people – behind closed doors.

4. Power of flight

flyingman
Photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson via Flickr.

While Superman-style flight remains beyond reach, let us not forget that we see the power of flight daily in the airplanes above us, not to mention more recent inventions like hovercrafts and human-powered helicopters.

Apparently, human flight is more difficult than our good friend Leonardo Da Vinci even imagined. The Da Vinci inspired Human BirdWings demonstrates what would be some really amazing tech, if it weren’t proven to be a hoax, but fortunately this soaring fellow below known as “Jetman” appears to be the real deal.

5. Regeneration

starfish2
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Will human beings ever be able to grow back lost limbs? Maybe not quite like our starfish friends, but an accidental discovery by cancer researcher George Daly found that mice genetically engineered to retain embryonic genes demonstrated super-growth abilities when clipped, poked, and waxed.

Another rodentine experiment by scientists at Edinburgh University’s medical research center successfully regrew a mouse’s thymus organ, a breakthrough that could ultimately help humans live longer, the Guardian says.

6. Immortality

immortalbrain
Image courtesy of digitalbob8 via Flickr.

Of course, living longer isn’t living forever. But that’s another goal some physicists believe is within our reach. Specifically, scientists such as Google’s Ray Kurzweil think that someday, perhaps within the next 50 years, the entire human brain will be uploadable.

Like with regeneration, evidence of upload capability has been observed in mice when scientists successfully uploaded memories into their brains.

This thinking aligns closely with the transhumanist movement, which believes that through a combination of advances in genetic engineering, brain implants, gene therapy, and cell repair, illness will be eliminated and humans will live thousands of years.

Which scientifically manufactured superpower would you prefer? Tweet us @curiousmatic.

Jennifer Markert