Juggling the Senses

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 6,962
    A researcher at Johns Hopkins University studies how the sense of touch contributes to rhythmic movements such as running.

    Scientists are juggling different data to learn more about how humans and animals move.  A researcher at Johns Hopkins University brought his love of juggling into the lab.  An amateur juggler himself, he had participants juggle paddles attached to a computer to learn how the sense of touch contributes to rhythmic movements such as running.  The repetitive movement of juggling is similar to movement to walking or running but simpler to observe in a lab setting.  Through his juggling experiments, he found that participants made half as many errors when they were given a touch sensation or haptic feedback, a vibration on the paddle, than when they relied on visual stimulation alone.  The research concluded that vision provides excellent spatial and positioning information and haptic feedback provides important timing information.  This information could be helpful in treating patients of neurological disorders or in creating better prosthetics. (me juggling) Maybe I need some haptic feedback.