That Spring in Your Step Is Semi-Automatic

first_imgCross-country runners know the challenge of running on uneven terrain.  What they may not know is that they are executing one of the most difficult operations for robot designers: how to make an upright, walking machine make rapid decisions on irregular surfaces without falling.    Monica Daley of the Royal Veterinary College wrote about this last week in Current Biology.1We know quite a lot about how humans and animals run over completely level, uniform surfaces – conditions that can be easily studied on a track or treadmill.  Yet, the real world is much more complex, requiring frequent stride-to-stride adjustments to deal with bumps, holes and obstacles in the road.  What strategies do runners use to keep moving forward when the going gets rough?  Only recently has biomechanics research begun to turn to this challenging question.  New research by Grimmer and colleagues reveals that the answer may be a lot simpler than you might think.She must have said “simpler” with tongue in cheek, because her next sentence said, “Running involves a cascade of systems working together, including the brain, spinal cord, sensory organs, muscles and bone.”  Earlier she had noted, “We often take our own impressive stability for granted, but if you watch a toddler learn to walk and run, you can see that it can be a challenging task.”    Scientists try to model running with images of a bouncing ball, where tension on landing is released like a spring on the way up.  “Similarly, by using springs in their legs, animals can passively cycle energy through spring recoil, reducing the need for muscle work,” she explained.  Seems simple so far.  But tendons, muscles and joints differ in their springiness.  Did you know that humans have exceptional spring in their step, comparable to horses and kangaroos?    The situation gets harder to model when the cross-country runner gets off the treadmill and onto the trail.  Rocks, ditches, bumps and other obstacles require constant monitoring and adjustment.  The speed of signals in the nerves, though, is finite from toe to brain.  How can the brain keep up with a flood of constantly changing data from the extremities in time to adjust?    Here’s where Grimmer’s theory comes into play: the brain may be ordering a basic bouncing pattern with slight modifications.  This way, decisions are not required for every motion – just minor adjustments as needed.  “This allows the body to keep moving in its simple bouncing pattern without a stumble or fall.”    If true, this means that most of the running motion occurs passively without active brain signaling.  An analogy from business might help:That is not to say that neural control is not required for running.  To change speed, direction, or switch from a run to a walk, active control and path planning is certainly involved.  However, tuning your leg to behave like a simple mass-spring system may allow the brain and spinal cord to worry only about this higher level control, leaving within stride adjustments to the mechanical system.  Think of it as the difference between a ‘micro-managing’ supervisor and one who delegates responsibility and checks in now and then.  Overall, the latter strategy is considered more effective, because it frees the manager to pay attention to the big picture.  However, for this approach to succeed, things must not fall apart when the supervisor is not looking.Notice that this strategy would not work without prior systems being in place.  Legs, muscles, tendons, bones and all the other components have to be able to run the strategy with minimal supervision.    Daley asked a question midway through her article that tempted one to ask a big-picture question: “So, is the spring-like behaviour of human and animal legs an accident of nature, or a strategy to simplify the job of the central nervous system?”  The remaining paragraphs, in which she described the benefits of the delegating-manager strategy, suggested the latter.  She did not, however, use the word evolution anywhere in the article.  If it is not an accident of nature, one can draw one’s own conclusions about where strategies come from.1.  Monica A. Daley, “Biomechanics: Running Over Uneven Terrain Is a No-Brainer,” Current Biology, Volume 18, Issue 22, 25 November 2008, pp. R1064-R1066, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2008.09.050.Have you ever done rock-hopping in a river?  It’s fun and challenging, but the slightest mistake and you could be in for a dunk or broken leg.  Slippery rock, distracting currents, and uneven surfaces galore – did you think about how much calculus your brain has to do on the sensory inputs to do this?  Even a child can manage the task fairly well.  Dr. Daley did not extend her simplified analysis to this and other complex tasks humans perform (think balance beam).    The wonders of the human body should inspire awe and respect.  How could you mistreat your machine?  If you owned a Ferrari, would you not give it special care?  How much more should we care about the tremendous gift the Creator has given us in the body we inhabit.  For more on the unique human capabilities involved in running, read the memorable entry from 11/14/2004, “The Evolution of Marathon Man.”(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Expansion of Maharashtra Cabinet on the cards

first_imgAs the State government gets ready for the last session of the current Assembly, the news of a possible Cabinet expansion is making the rounds again. The monsoon session begins on June 17. While details of a meeting between senior BJP leader and Revenue and Relief Minister Chandrakant Patil with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday were not made public, sources said it was to discuss the possibility of expansion.State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, in an interaction with mediapersons, said, “Yes, there is a possibility of Cabinet expansion. The ultimate right to decide rests with Chief Minister. More ministers would mean better governance. Therefore, there is a possibility that cabinet expansion may take place,” he said.Political circles are also discussing the possibility of former Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil joining BJP and getting a cabinet berth. However neither BJP sources nor Mr. Vikhe-Patil’s aides have confirmed this yet.last_img read more

Ateneo stops Adamson on its tracks, bags 8th straight win

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. The 5-3 Soaring Falcons fell to third place relinquishing its share of the second spot to defending champion De La Salle that has a 6-2 card.BJ Andrade gave Ateneo its biggest lead of the game at 71-50 with a booming triple with 2:02 left.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAfter a close 31-24 first half, the Blue Eagles eventually managed to shake off the Soaring Falcons in the third taking a 13-point lead, 54-41, into the final period.“It was a defensive game, Adamson is a very good defensive team, the 23 points we scored in the third quarter was the pivotal cushion for us,” said Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga. LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Read Next After Game 1 struggles, Cone expecting huge fightback from Meralco Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa MOST READ Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “We wanted to make sure our defense did not let us down and that the defense would lead opportunities for us on the break.”Ateneo’s vise grip held Adamson to season-lows in points scored as the Soaring Falcons converted just one of their 18 tries from deep.The Blue Eagles also hounded Adamson’s shot takers with the Soaring Falcons tallying just five assists.Thirdy Ravena led Ateneo with 15 points and nine rebounds while Vince Tolentino added eight points and six boards.Papi Sarr had 15 points and nine rebounds to lead Adamson.ADVERTISEMENT BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  LATEST STORIES View comments Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netAteneo reached a different altitude in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament after scoring its eight straight win at the expense of Adamson University, 71-59, Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.The league-leading Blue Eagles soared to an 8-0 card while putting a stop to the Soaring Falcons’ four-game win streak.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

TFA Sport Education Framework

first_imgTouch Football Australia (TFA) commenced a review and implemented updated Sport Education curriculums and resources from September 2013. This was to ensure a direct link from our athletes to our coaching, refereeing and supporting volunteer resources across all areas of the sport.TFA provides this update as a summary of the projects which have now been completed, along with an outline of the remaining items and future direction.For more information, please click on the attachment below. Related Filessport_education_framework_update_august_2015-pdfRelated LinksSport Education Frameworklast_img read more

18 days agoArsenal defender Calum Chambers: Much more to come from us

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Arsenal defender Calum Chambers: Much more to come from usby Paul Vegas18 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal defender Calum Chambers has no doubts about the potential of their young team.Even though Arsenal sit in the Champions League places, with just one defeat so far this season which came away to early pace-setters Liverpool, Chambers feels there is still room for improvement in the coming weeks.Asked if there was still more to come from the team, the defender replied: “Yes, we have got a really strong squad, a lot of quality players.”We know we have got quality and we can see that, we have just got to keep working hard and believing in ourselves and the results will keep on coming.” last_img read more

Here’s A Cool Video Of Deshaun Watson Leading Clemson In A Round Of “Tigerjacks”

first_imgDeshaun Watson leading the team in "Tigerjacks" at practice.Deshaun Watson Clemson TigerjacksClemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is only entering his sophomore year with the Tigers, but it’s clear that he’s going to have to be a leader during the 2015 campaign. It looks like he’s having no problem playing that role so far.Saturday, Clemson posted an Instagram video of Watson leading the team in a round of “Tigerjacks.” It’s a short clip, but it’s enough to get Tigers fan pumped up for the upcoming season.  Deshaun Watson leading the Tigerjack breakdown. #ClemsonA video posted by Clemson Football (@clemsonfb) on Aug 15, 2015 at 8:21am PDT Clemson opens with Wofford on Saturday, September 5.last_img read more

NFL draft Darron Lee picked No 20 overall by the New York

Former OSU linebacker Darron Lee returns an interception for a touchdown during a game against Northern Illinois on Sept. 19. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorFormer Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee was selected by the Jets with the No. 20 pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft. Lee becomes the fifth Buckeye taken in the first round of this year’s draft. NFL.com’s draft analyst Mike Mayock ranked Lee as the fourth-best linebacker prospect.The local product of New Albany, Ohio, quickly became a dominant force for Urban Meyer’s “Silver Bullets.” Lee came into OSU as an athletic high school quarterback and safety recruit who was 6-foot-2 but hardly weighed 200 pounds. After sitting out his freshman season with a medical redshirt, Lee gained close to 30 pounds and started at outside linebacker in 2014.With his bigger frame to go along with his incredible athleticism and lightning-quick speed, Buckeye fans saw Lee transform into a Big Ten linebacker poised for the spotlight.In his first game with the Buckeyes, down 7-6 in the 2014 opener against Navy, Lee charged through the line to scoop up a fumble forced by defensive lineman Joey Bosa and took it the distance to give OSU a lead it would never relinquish.The 6-foot-2, 232-pound linebacker totaled 81 tackles his redshirt freshman season, including 16.5 tackles for loss and seven and a half sacks. Lee was named an Associated Press Freshman All-American and defensive MVP in OSU’s Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama after he had three tackles for loss and two sacks.In his redshirt sophomore campaign, Lee’s numbers went down slightly, but he still ended up with 66 tackles, 11 of which were for a loss, and four and a half sacks. His performance was enough for the AP to award the linebacker second-team All-American honors. Lee started 28 games for the Buckeyes in two seasons.Lee ran the fastest time of all linebacker prospects at the NFL combine in February (4.47), and finished as a top performer in the vertical jump at 35.5 feet.The Jets are scheduled to open up the 2016 regular season against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sep. 11 at 1 p.m. read more

NCAA Tournament expansion Additional bids benefit everyone

The NCAA basketball tournament should expand to 96 teams. It’s the obvious choice.Although it’s only in the discussion phase, the possible expansion from the traditional 65-team tournament to either 68 or 96 teams has its advantages.However, if the NCAA is going to complicate things, why bother with 68 teams? Go straight to 96.There are 347 Division I teams, only 18 percent of which receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament.The expansion would allow for 28 percent of teams to receive bids, and between both the NCAA and NIT tournaments, 37 percent would receive bids.I understand the prestige that comes with a bid, but why not share that honor with more players? To the majority of players who don’t continue their career into the NBA, this is the highest honor they will receive.The expansion doesn’t undermine the exclusiveness of the tournament because it will still exclude much more than half of the teams.It would still place an emphasis on the regular season as well. The pressure during the regular season has room to intensify when an NCAA bid is on the line.Conference champions will be rewarded with automatic bids as usual.Then there are teams who are consistently offered a bid but, because of a mediocre season, they become a team on the bubble.A perfect example is Ohio State. The Buckeyes didn’t make it to the 2008 NCAA tournament but received a No. 1 seed in the NIT tournament.If you look at the recent winners of the NIT, they are almost always a powerhouse school. In the last 22 years, only twice has a team from a mid-major conference won the NIT.The expansion would ensure that teams that are able to compete at the same level are given that opportunity.Smaller conferences have teams worthy of a seed and the expansion allows them to have more than one team make it. Keeping the strongest schools together in the big tournament reserves the NIT for smaller schools that simply can’t compete with the big dogs.Sure, the expansion will create obvious underdogs, but it’s the underdogs that add to the “madness” that is March Madness. Without them, there wouldn’t be Cinderella stories.To the powerhouses of the NCAA, there’s no reason to shy away from the expansion. The competition will be nearly the same. If anything, those powerhouses will be protected from big upsets by a first or second round bye.In the event that the Big Ten expands as well, Ohio State has one more competitor in the race for the Big Ten title. For the growing sport and the growing conference, the expansion is inevitable. read more

No 10 Ohio State wrestling to take on No 15 Virginia Tech

The No. 10 Ohio State wrestling team is looking to build upon its early season success this weekend against the No. 15 Virginia Tech Hokies. The Buckeyes are 3-0 this season after defeating Utah Valley, Old Dominion and North Carolina by a combined score of 102-9 last weekend at the Wrestle for a Cure Duals in Harrisburg, Pa. “We were pleased with their performance,” said coach Tom Ryan. “But there is certainly room for improvement.” The young OSU team lost only two matches in the meet and won 28, led by redshirt freshman Logan Stieber, the No. 4-ranked wrestler in the nation at 133 pounds. Stieber had two pins in his three matches for a perfect 3-0 finish. The Buckeyes finished the meet with four falls, one technical fall and four major decisions. Stieber echoed his coach in saying the team has some work to do to be competitive. “We need to pick up intensity,” he said. “We still have a lot of things to work on, but we wrestled pretty well.” The probable starters for the Buckeyes this weekend include five freshmen, two redshirt freshmen, two redshirt sophomores and one redshirt junior. There is only one senior on the roster. Ryan said the youth of the team is its biggest challenge. “We’re trying to do the toughest thing that I’m aware of in college sports, and that is to have a freshman perform at a national level,” he said. “And that is extremely difficult.” The team will have to grow up in a hurry, as Ryan said Virginia Tech represents the team’s biggest challenge of the season, and this is only the third week of the season. Stieber will be involved in the featured match of the dual as he faces No. 5 sophomore Devin Carter , who finished in the Top 12 at the 2011 NCAA Championships as a true freshman. “Every match is going to be tough in that dual; we’re very similar in rankings in each weight class, so all 10 matches will be tough,” Ryan said. “But (Stieber’s match) is a doozie. Either one of those guys could be in the national finals, or both of them.” Fans are encouraged to wear black to the meet, which will start at 4 p.m. Sunday from St. John Arena. read more

Among the Elite Q answers call to send Buckeyes to Elite 8

LOS ANGELES – For at least the first 20 minutes of play, the defects that often doomed Ohio State during a rocky midseason stretch in February seemed to show in glimpses Thursday night at the Staples Center. In their Sweet 16 bout against Arizona, the Buckeyes veered away from the type of play that had gotten them to Los Angeles and leaned on the skill of junior forward Deshaun Thomas, the team’s and Big Ten’s leading scorer. Enter LaQuinton Ross, whose swift flick of the wrist likely made him the most-talked about person in Columbus. Thanks to the sophomore forward’s 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds to play, OSU won the game, 73-70, and will play in the Elite 8 for the second consecutive year. “This is what every player grows up looking at on TV and wants to hit that big shot, wants to win the game and hit the big shot in the NCAA Tournament or the NBA,” Ross said. “It just feels great to be here right now.” It was the second game in a row a late 3-pointer has lifted the Buckeyes. Just last week, junior guard Aaron Craft, OSU’s defensive heart and soul (and a 30 percent 3-point shooter) buried a game-winning shot en route to 18 points, vaulting the Buckeyes past Iowa State in Dayton Sunday. In some ways, Thursday felt like deja vu. But for parts of the first half, even being in the position to win seemed unlikely. While OSU opened the game’s scoring with a basket from Thomas, they seemed anxious and disorganized on both ends of the court. “We started off slow. Guys were being selfish, guys were hugged up on their man, not helping each other out, getting into gaps and tagging,” said Thomas, who finished the night with a game-high 20 points. “I don’t know what it was. It was probably just the heat of the moment. Everybody was just too excited.” Quickly, Arizona coach Sean Miller and the Wildcats took advantage. After falling the victim to an early, furious 10-2 run, the Buckeyes fell behind, 10-4, with 15:46 to play in the period. Behind Arizona senior guard Mark Lyons and his 10 first-half points, the Wildcats shot 50 percent from the field and, in particular, used a lethal 3-point assault to stave off a Buckeye squad that struggled to find momentum. Thomas, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, became a lone pillar for stability as his teammates’ jump shots clanked off the iron and their layups clunked off the backboard. But despite Arizona sinking 63 percent of shots from behind the arc, OSU coach Thad Matta and his crew trotted into halftime down just 38-34, thanks to Thomas and his 16-point outburst in the first period. Having been outscored, outshot and perhaps generally outplayed in the first half against the Wildcats, Thomas said Matta had a singular and simple message. “Coach said do what we do at halftime,” he said, “and that’s what we did.” Craft relayed a similar message. “Our biggest focus was we needed to play better defense,” Craft said. “We gave up 38 points in a half and we haven’t done that too often this year. We got stops and we got easy buckets in transition and that’s where we’re at our best. It really kind of fuels our offense. Layups, dunks, mismatches, scramble situations.” It didn’t take long for OSU to pick up its level of play. The Buckeyes roared out of the gates on a 10-0 run thanks to sophomore forward Sam Thompson, junior guards Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Craft and even sophomore center Amir Williams – who swatted away a shot on one end of the floor before snatching a rebound over two defenders and going up for the jam on the other. Conversely, in that span, Arizona found scoring to be a more troubling endeavor than it was in the first half. In fact, the Wildcats wouldn’t make a basket until freshman forward Brandon Ashley connected on a short jumper a the 14:40 mark of the second. The struggles didn’t end there, either, as Arizona could only muster five points the first nine minutes of the second period and trailed the Buckeyes by as many as 10 after leading all but 33 seconds in the first half. The Wildcats responded, cutting the OSU lead to 60-57 after Lyons buried a trey with 6:33 to play. With 21.8 seconds to play, Lyons tied the game at 70 after making a driving layup despite being fouled, then making the ensuing free throw. It was not enough to overcome Ross – the Buckeyes’ hero – who surged late to score 14 of his 17 total points in the game’s final eight minutes. The Buckeyes have had a revolving door of second scoring options that have played sidekicks to Thomas’ usually steady production. And while his aid came late, Smith said the flavor-of-the-day approach to who will compliment Thomas is a blessing rather than a curse. “That’s such a good thing about this team, you never know who’s gonna step up and be that guy in next game,” he said. “It’s been a knock on us all year. We don’t have offense, you know, we don’t have that second scorer. Well, I mean, I can’t tell at this point, we’re finding guys to make shots.” The Buckeyes (29-7) are set to play No. 9 seed Wichita State Saturday in the Elite 8 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles at 7:05 p.m. read more