Superhero fiction shot to fame in the 1930s, at a time when the world was in desperate need of saving. These caped crusaders have superseded expectations, moving forward with each generation, taking brave leaps from rooftops, taking us on journeys through space, carrying us at lightning speeds to infinity. These characters inspire us to be better versions of ourselves. Even the villains bring something to the table—an undying passion for what they believe in. But, at the end of the day, the thing that makes these superheroes so super or wonderful or, well, batty, is their powers.
So what happens if we, the everyday people, get our hands on a piece of that magic? What happens when the fiction gets dropped from the book shelf titles and what we’re left with is an endless collection of literary works that are simply referred to as science because all of those fantasies materialized? Does it seem that we’re so far from X-Ray vision, superhuman strength, and ultrasonic waves that these things aren’t already being created and/or used? Technology has brought us a whole lot closer to the DC Comic Universe (DCU) than we ever could have imagined. From rocketing to space to reading each other’s minds, from conducting light particles to building newly developed deep-sea diving equipment, and even rendering ourselves invisible, you could say we’re all on our way to planet Krypton. And to prove it, here are 15 Justice League super powers you can buy and try at home. None of these products are perfect but if you’re looking for the superhero starter kit then you’ve come to the right place.
15. Canary Cry A.K.A Ultrasonic Scream
Get supersonic like the Black Canary by unleashing the power of an ultrasonic wave generator. Its sounds are rumored to be able to collapse whole buildings. It’s guaranteed to give your enemy an earache if nothing else. Several of these devices are on the market with prices ranging from $50 to thousands of dollars. Whether they function on the level of a real USW is debatable but we hear they’re quite a scream. And hey, as the Black Canary herself said: “Not using your natural abilities is like me refusing to speak, which, by the way, I tried for a while after my very first Canary Cry nearly deafened my entire first grade class.”
14. X-Ray Vision
An MIT Tech prototype for X-ray vision was spawned in 2012 and is slated to hit the shelves for the bargain price of $300 in the very near future. The device utilizes wireless signals to generate a “picture” of what’s happening behind nearby walls, screens, buildings, etc. As you can imagine, privacy is an issue in terms of getting this tech out to the general public but its creators counter that it’s no more intrusive than a surveillance cam. The only drawback is it isn’t much more advanced than a surveillance cam either. Calling it “vision” is a bit of a stretch since its projections are currently still being viewed on a screen. However, the company backing the device, an organization known as “Emerald” intends to package the screen to be similar to a cellular phone, user friendly interface and all.
Invisibility is a great place to start because there are several items on the market that can equip you with this power. Either it’s the most popular or simply the easiest to create- we’re not sure. But if you want to make like a mutant and disappear here’s what you need to get started: the ISHU Scarf, which is available for $388, courtesy of All Access Brands. It’s a secret light-blocking device disguised as a scarf that will literally make you invisible to all cameras. Endorsed by celebrities Nick Jonas, Cameron Diaz, Paris Hilton and DMX, this scarf certainly belongs in your closet right next to your spandex uniform.
If you want to be invisible to the naked eye, you have to take things to a higher degree- 4000° higher to be exact. You’ll also need a curtain. Yes, it’s true. Scientists have now concluded that magicians were right the whole time. You do need a curtain in order to disappear. Not just any curtain though. You need a transparent curtain comprised of carbon nanotubes. When heated to the aforementioned temperature it provides a cloak of deception you can hide behind. Note to future vigilantes— do not wear the cloak or you will be scorched and experience an unfathomable demise. The curtain is for hiding yourself and other objects behind it. When heated to such a high degree it creates a mirage to onlookers. Scientists claim such a curtain could hide something as large as a submarine or tank.
12. Super Strength
If you’re looking to level up on strength, you’d do better to think outside of the box or better yet, inside of the suit. TALOS, the robotic exoskeleton that was brought before the military in 2013, now has several different models that are allegedly unpowered but raring to go. Over the course of the next decade, worldwide governments hope to “digitize the military” whatever that means. The TALOS suit can generate 12 KW of power and is said to make an average human lift well over 400 pounds without flinching. We’re hoping it might end up having applications other than military- how cool would it be to see firefighters in such a suit?
11. Lasso of Truth
Ever wonder if there really was a way to know if someone was lying or not? A psychoactive serum known as sodium thiopental has been utilized as a way of procuring the truth. So, just like all of the spy novels and movies out there always showed, there really is a way to make people tell the truth. The serum has been on the market since the early 1900s and is said to be completely undetectable. More potent variations of the substance are found in anesthesia and the serum used to induce lethal injections. It runs at just under $80 a bottle. If you’re a completist, the lasso and Wonder Woman costume are sold separately.
10. Super Speed
“Life is locomotion. If you’re not moving, you’re not living-“The Flash (New 52, Volume 1). For super speed you’re going to need the DARPA jet pack which is currently in its prototype phase at Arizona State University. It’s something called dual jet technology and when strapped to someone’s back, it can help them run a mile in four minutes flat. It’s not exactly faster than a speeding bullet but at least it’s in the ballpark. Ironically, this genius product came about after somebody realized the jetpack wasn’t powerful enough to lift people into the sky. That was the original intention. As a field level propeller, the jetpack is breaking some serious ground.
9. Underwater Breathing
Now we’re talking! Deep sea diving Aquaman-style is slowly becoming a viable possibility. Through much research and exploration, scientists have finally stumbled upon a stone that could make underwater breathing for extensive periods of time a reality. The stone, aptly named the “Aquaman Crystal” can allow you to live underwater for as long as 30 days when synthesized. It’s still far from perfect in terms of harnessing the power. Nevertheless, its promise remains. Forget living on the moon- we might be going underwater first. Can you say Atlantis, everyone?
8. The Projection of Hard Light Constructs
Green Lantern and his ring will forever top the super power charts. Could it be possible to turn light into solid matter as the ring in the books does? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Photonic molecules, a relatively newly discovered quantum nonlinear medium, are light particles that bond, reacting to the atmosphere as a solid would, much like the “hard light constructs” unleashed from the magical ring. Harnessing the ultimate power of photonic molecules is still a work in progress but the theory of hard light is panning out to be a bit more solid than it seemed 50 years ago. This is a DIY project but there are theoretical books on the market that can help you through the process of building your very own hard light construct power ring. Take for example, “Organic Electro-Optics and Photonics: Molecules, Polymers and Crystals” which is currently $64 on Kindle. Good Luck!
7. Air And Wind Manipulation
A series of cloud busting experiments conducted in the ‘50s and ‘60s led scientists to an unfathomable conclusion… Weather can be controlled to some extent. Unfortunately, in order to actually make it rain, you’re going to need an airplane, a ridiculous amount of silver iodide and government clearance. Unless, of course, you’re an arch-villain; then you can skip the government clearance part… Many scientists now also attest to the belief that a vast quantity of liquid nitrogen sprayed at the right time and in the right section of the sea during a storm could presumably stop a hurricane in its tracks. You can snag a 4-liter Bio Tech supply on Amazon for less than $700.
6. Superhuman Endurance
In the meantime, there is also “kineseowear,” a special type of tape designed to aid athletes in fighting through injuries and optimizing muscle capabilities, although obviously governments are starting to look at it, too. Descriptions of the product claim athletes can use it to finish competing even if they’ve been seriously hurt. Kineseowear is available online for an undisclosed (a.k.a. astronomical) amount of money. While not nearly as intimidating as, say, fully functional body armor, it does get the job done. And just imagine how differently football games will play out once this reaches major brand status. Maybe we’ll see a return of Roller Derby.
Another surprising army-sanctioned weapon of destruction is a telepathic helmet that allows troops to read each others’ minds on the battlefield. It works off of the same EEG technology used to power the EMOTIV wearable brain powered devices that were originally designed to be used by people with physical restrictions. It just has a slightly more sinister application. Although at least you won’t look like Jon Jonn’z.
As it turns out, not only is it possible to read minds, it’s also possible to use those brain waves to do things like drive cars and play video games. Mind reading is turning out to be rather expensive though. For a cool $4 million you can suffer through the process but you’ll have to talk to the person whose mind you wish to read into forking over the cash for their helmet, too. Then you’ll have to talk them into wearing the helmet. So unless your name is Professor X, you may be out of luck.
4. Computer Hacking
Yes, computer hacking was written into DC Comics universe long before it was all the rage. Part of the fun of comic books has always been the science fiction aspect to their technology. While you can’t technically purchase a computer hacking super power, you can, in fact, go to school for it. Contrary to popular opinion, not all hacking is done with malicious intent. Many professional hackers help maximize internet security, aid in developing new software, and shut down deleterious threats before they materialize. There have been multiple movies based on comic books that feature minor characters who are hackers for the good guys- so if you can’t be a front-line superhero you can still be in the Justice League; just don’t expect anybody to recognize you.
3. Regenerative Healing
Now this is where it’s at! DARPA really has a leg up in the super power niche. Their technical engineers are currently manufacturing an electrically-charged implant that can not only detect weakness in the body and brain, but can also help the body to heal itself through the use of neuromodulation. The program, known as “ElectRX,” could single-handedly shut down the healthcare market indefinitely, making regenerative healing available universally, like healthcare is supposed to be today. Theoretically, instead of heading to the doctor when your temperature rises, you’d let the chip charge you back up to health. Would you want to participate in an ElectRX initiative or have we gone too far?
2. Clasp And Fly Like Batman
A man known on the web as Hacksmith has made it his mission to turn fiction into fact – one superhero weapon at a time. Incidentally, he also recreated a mind-boggling version of Captain America’s (Yeah, we know he’s an MCU guy and not in the Justice League) electromagnetic shield. Fortunately, you can purchase a device to help you grapple, glide, and scale like Batman from the Hacksmith himself. It’s currently priced at just under $75 and available on Etsy. With your new gadgets maybe someday your own commissioner Gordon will say of you: “Because he’s not a hero. He’s a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A dark knight.” Now wouldn’t that be cool?
1. Singular Flight
Upon the mention of any super hero universe, the first thought that enters most people’s minds is that of a masked vigilante floating through the clouds, soaring like an eagle on high. Yeah, we’re talking about flying. Up until recently, this was the stuff of fantasies that was restricted to lands where fairy dust and Kryptonite exist but now this type of flying is right on our horizon, practically staring us in the face. The P12 version of the Martin Jetpack affords 30 minutes of singular flight for the bargain price of $200,000. If you’re planning on getting into the whole superhero thing for the girls, you’ll be glad to hear that a two-person model is already underway. Just remember to hope you’re really flying and not just falling with style.