Stopping Bullets

Even if you're not faster than a speeding bullet, you may be able to avoid one someday soon. And that seems like a handy ability to have.

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It's unlikely that you'll ever be faster than a speeding bullet on your own. But if there were an invention that could actually sense when an incoming round was on its way to meet you, well, that would be something. And if such a device could also compel you to dive out of harm's way, it would surely be ranked among the most awesome science-borne superpowers.

IBM filed a patent for Bionic Body Armor, which would accomplish such tasks, in early 2009 [source: Anderson]. The device would have induced a shock to the wearer that would in turn cause reflexive movements in the opposite direction of a threatening projectile. Unfortunately, IBM pulled the patent in February of the same year [source: Anderson].

Never fear though. Smart armor is still being developed in the form of liquid body armor. One version uses magnetorheological fluids (MFs), which thicken when exposed to a magnetic field, and another uses shear-thickening fluids (STFs), which harden when agitated or struck forcefully by an object.

As these forms of armor become more refined, they will certainly change the landscape of war. And while they haven't been perfected yet, their value in terms of lives saved and casualties prevented will be immeasurable. That's why smart armor will grant users with one of the most awesome superpowers of all.

Ready for the last one?