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Bam! Science Inspired by Superheroes

By Eric Roston - 2013-12-17T14:48:54Z

Photograph by Warner Brothers/Everett Collection

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Batman's Cape

In Batman Begins, industrial designer Lucius Fox gives Batman a cape made out of a material that is flexible under normal conditions, but that can stiffen when exposed to an electric charge. This allows him mobility when on the ground, but the ability to glide when needed.

Dielectric elastomers are a class of polymers under development that revert between shapes by converting electricity into mechanical energy. Researchers are probing their potential uses in artificial muscle for limb prosthetics

Left: Batman Begins, 2005.