FACT 1: Japanese venture-capitalist firm, Cyberdyne Systems, have developed a robotic exoskeleton dubbed Robot Suit Hal (Hybrid Assistive Limb). It works by detecting faint bio signals through our skin, sent by the brain when we intend to move. Hal is currently able to help users lift more than five times their natural lifting capacity.
FACT 2: The TIE Fighters (Twin Ion Engines) from Star Wars are not as outlandish as you think. The US has been developing Ion Thrusters since the early 1950s and in 1998 NASA launched the unmanned spacecraft, Deep Space 1, utilising Ion Thrusters as the primary force of propulsion.
FACT 3: In 1970 a patent was filed on behalf of British Rail for a Charles Osmond Frederick designed vehicle. Known as the British Rail Flying Saucer, it was intended for interplanetary travel via a system of laser-ignited nuclear fission.
FACT 4: Beaming on-board the USS Enterprise may still be out of reach but thanks to the Joint Quantum Institute we are at least one electron closer. They found that by manipulating photons in a vacuum state, they can literally teleport information as far as three feet.
FACT 5: Asimo is a revolutionary robot created by Honda. Not only does it mimic the natural gait of a human walk cycle it can also: climb stairs, run, recognise faces and dynamically learn to identify and stratify objects, prompting the question... does it dream of electric sheep?
Scientists have extracted the Spider silk gene and have spliced it into goats. These goats then produce the silk protein in their milk. This is then extracted and fed through artificial spinnerets to create a synthetic form of spider silk.
FACT 6: We could be one step closer to Willam Gibsons Neuromancer, due to a Sony patent for a non-invasive way to transmit data directly into the brain. Learning Kung Fu at the click of a button could be over the horizon.
FACT 7: While getting blasted by gamma rays worked for the Hulk, a more credible way to become a superhero could be gene therapy. Physiologist H. Lee Sweeney has developed an artificial gene called Insulinlike Growth Factor 1 which is administered via a virus. When injected into young mice, it increased muscle mass and strength by approximately 15 per cent. He also believes if you really wanted it, he could develop a gene to turn your skin green.
FACT 8: If your fantasies involve using telekinetic powers like Professor Charles Xavier and Jean Grey from the X-Men then maybe Professor Andrew Junker can help you. Using his Cyberlink system, users can use facial gestures to control user interface keys. The real Sci-Fi element comes from the seven keys controlled by brainwaves alone! By switching between the alpha and beta brainwaves, users can manipulate these keys to control an optical display, creating a ‘virtual telekinesis’.
FACT 9: Scientists have extracted the spider silk gene and have spliced it into goats. These goats then produce the silk protein in their milk. This is then extracted and fed through artificial spinnerets to create a synthetic form of spider silk.
FACT 10: Adamantium may be consigned to comic books but a metal Wolverine-like skeleton is all too real. We can now replace whole bones with super strong cobalt-chrome orthopaedic implants. Not only that, these limbs can also grow due to a spring system that expands when exposed to specialised magnets.