Created in 1939, Batman is arguably the most popular superhero of all time. Bruce Wayne’s dark past, the gritty characters and villains, and the clever plot lines are some unique qualities of the ‘The Dark Knight’ canon that sets this superhero apart from all the others.
It’s also safe to say that the one of the most beloved adaptations and successful franchises in Hollywood history is Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’. What makes this adaptation unique is its use of realism to an extent that made some viewers wonder whether everything they saw on screen could actually could be true. The fact that he was the multi-millionaire owner of Wayne Industries allowed him access to the coolest gadgets and tech innovations to counter any kind of threat, including the terrifying Scarecrow, the unhinged Joker, or the mastermind Bane.
Before you start imagining ways to start your own nighttime heroics, let’s see if any of these gadgets could even exist in the real world. They might come in handy if Jared Leto ever loses it for real…. who knows?
The Armored Suit
The functionality of Batman’s suit is three-fold. Firstly, it protects him against attacks during his escapades. Secondly, it conceals his real identity as the owner of Wayne Industries, Bruce Wayne. Thirdly, it is intended to scare criminals and haunt them in their very worst nightmares. Based on an advanced infantry Armor system constructed from a polymer called Nomex, this suit has a protection layer made of Kevlar bi-weave, which can stop knives and low-caliber bullets.
The armor was then coated with a black latex material to dampen the user’s heat signature, making him difficult to detect with night-vision equipment. The iconic blades on the sides of Batman’s gauntlets are retractable and can be fired outwards as projectiles.
The bottom line is, even though this all seems too cool to be true, it’s based on technology that already exists and could totally happen in real life. All you need is about a million dollars and you can be leaping across rooftops like the real Batman!
The Grapple Gun
So… imagine that you’re out fighting thugs, but suddenly more of them show up and they overpower you, so you need to make a quick escape. You can simply whip out the grapple gun from your utility belt and disappear into the night. The line gun uses a strong clamp attached to a wire with high tensile strength for traversing gaps with ease. The line is propelled with compressed air, and works with a magnetic grappling iron.
This gadget might be a bit more difficult to create in real life. The amount of cable required to haul Batman out of harm’s way is simply too great. Such an escape would require a thin high-density wire to be contained in such a small device. Although grappling hooks do exist, the rate at which the hook lifts Batman is also much too fast. Guns that exist today would make the user look like a clown attached to a rope with a comically slow ascension rate. In other words, it’s not a cool way to surprise criminals and certainly not a cool way to disappear into the night.
In The Dark Knight, Nolan added a cool new feature to Batman’s suit to imitate a bat’s echolocation power. Similar to an actual bat, Batman uses reflected high-frequency sound waves to identify obstacles, get a general overview of an enemy’s location, or map out a real-time building plan. In the movies, it’s revealed that Batman misuses Lucius Fox’s innovative ‘SONAR’ tech to turn every mobile phone in Gotham into a transmitter. The live feed that was directly fed to him from each phone gives Batman a virtual view of the situation.
Using only an advanced algorithm and a handful of microphones, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne have successfully mapped the dimensions of a closed area by measuring “room impulse responses.” Sound waves from a speaker are bounced off ceilings, walls and furniture to give a precise “image” of the room. Although this has been made possible using loud speakers, using phones to emit such frequencies long enough to get usable data is just a figment of Nolan’s imagination. The NSA has got everyone nervous about surveillance and privacy, but just imagine what this technique would do to your phone’s battery levels!
Who doesn’t love the Tumbler? This is Batman’s incredible car, bordering on being a tank, that also has a jet attached to it! This might not be safe for actual use, but the military has tried to duplicate the idea, and bulletproof armor certainly isn’t a stretch these days!
The presence of an ‘afterburner’ to give the Tumbler a push that enables it to hop between buildings isn’t without precedent. However, the inclusion of a Bat-Pod within the Tumbler might be asking for too much. Google, on the other hand, has already made great strides with the auto-pilot technology, so it’s safe to say that someday, you’ll find yourself looking at a soldier driving something like this on the battlefield.
Superheroes do love their puns. Roughly shaped like a ‘bat’, this Gotham City take on Ninja Stars is cool and highly effective. If you’re fine with compromising on the shape slightly, it just might work. Expert craftsmen have already put together a number of designs that are razor sharp and can return back to the user in the case of a miss. So yes, it’s a Batarang in real life! How cool would it be to pull one out while hanging out with friends?
The Batarang might work for Batman in the Nolan movies, but I’m not too keen on using one, since dodging it on the way back doesn’t seem that easy, but it does seem dangerous!
If you’re hungry for more, you can learn about Batman’s ability to fly and how (if at all) it can be incorporated into real life here. Although he doesn’t have any superhuman abilities like Superman or Spiderman, every avid fan of comics knows that Batman can put up a good fight against anyone.
Famed as being the best investigator in the whole world and well-trained in every form of martial arts, the absence of superpowers is more than compensated by his advanced tech. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly hoping to get a Bat-Pod this Christmas. Fingers crossed!