By Carrie Bengston and James Davidson
Happy Birthday, Batman!
This month marks 75 years since the Caped Crusader first appeared on comic book pages in Detective Comics Vol 1 #27.
So, what is Batman receiving for this milestone birthday?
Last week, Hollywood director Zack Snyder presented him with a new Batsuit and Batmobile for his movie due out in 2016.
But Zack’s brooding Batman suggests our superhero is not exactly pleased about being a septuagenarian. Perhaps he’s worried that he’ll struggle to find a place in the Batcave for another bottle of aftershave or pair of socks.
So what do you get the guy who already seems to have it all?
A few months back, we offered Batman our portable 3D laser scanner called Zebedee to help map crime scenes. Here are five more Bat-tastic gift ideas from our own tech lair.
1. Batsuit upgrade – Batman is always looking for new ways to improve his armour. He needs it to be lightweight so he can move like a ninja. Move over, movie costume designers! A real-world cape and body armour could be feasible, and we can provide the lightweight protection he needs. Developed for Australian military applications, but very useful for comic book heroes, our ceramic armour is lightweight and offers protection from small-arms fire, as well as high velocity shrapnel from grenades, shells and improvised explosive devices. A bat cape could easily be made from this material.
2. Autonomus Batcopter – Forget fixing the autopilot on The Bat, how about an aircraft that can navigate and manoeuvre by itself while performing operational tasks? Basic remote-controlled helicopters are already in hobby stores, but task-performing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that pilot themselves without a human operator are advancing every year. We’ve developed specialised UAVs to map plant pests in rainforests and for rescues. Batman could use one of these (pending CASA approval) to locate crime pests in the dense and gloomy landscape of Gotham City.
3. BatVision – We’ve developed bat sensors called Camazotz, about the size of a 50 cent piece that can track fruit bats’ movements and collect environmental data. Even smaller micro sensors are currently used to locate bees and Q-fly, as well as for collecting geochemical data on NASA’s Mars Rovers. They can be used outdoors to keep a close watch over Robin and track Batman’s enemies.
4. Social media BatAlert – hold the Batphone, our Emergency Situation Awareness (ESA) tool for social media provides early notification and real-time awareness of developing emergency situations. Alfred can relax back at Wayne Manor, while ESA keeps Batman informed with evidence of pre-incident activity, near real-time notice of an incident occurring, first-hand reports of incident impacts, and gauging community response to an emergency warning.
5. Cargo BatScan – Contraband in shipping or air cargo containers is a common trick for criminals that Batman hunts down. Using our cargo scanner, he can see what’s inside those containers, find their loot easily and get Commissioner Gordon on to it.
These gadgets should certainly see Batman through to his 80th birthday – the new retirement age in Gotham City.