Question Sheet: Supersuits for Superheroes


Before reading:

  1. How might robots help us in our daily lives?
  2. What would you want a robot to do to make your life easier?
  3. What do you imagine the term “wearable robotics” might mean?

During reading:

  1. What is “supercharged” clothing?
  2. What professions are interested in wearable robotics? Why?
  3. How does a “feedback loop” work?
  4. What do engineers need before they can create walking systems?
  5. What have researchers at Duke University done?

After reading:

  1. How could the world of entertainment benefit from wearable robotics?
  2. Do you think that some wearable enhancements would be easier to produce than others? What type of wearable robotics do you think will be the first to appear? Why?
  3. Athletic organizations are always trying to ban performance-enhancing drugs. How do you think they will feel about performance-enhancing gear?
  4. How might wearable robotics help people with injuries or missing limbs? Who should pay the cost, which certainly will be high?
  5. Emily mentions that this brand of robotics could help rescue survivors of earthquakes. What kind of enhancement might make a rescue worker more effective?


  1. Cyborgs in fiction are part human and part machine. Write a story about a cyborg. How does he or she go about life? What would be the most important differences between a cyborg and an ordinary person? What problems might he or she have?
  2. In science fiction, writers often imagine that people enhanced by robotics will go out of control or be controlled by outside forces. Do you think that such concerns are realistic? Might robotic enhancement make a person too powerful? Or can you imagine a scientist or the government using these technologies to control people? Have you read any books or seen any movies that use that concept? If so, explain whether the story was appealing and why.