HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Spring in your step helps avert disastrous stumbles, scientists say

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 10, 2006 -- From graceful ballerinas to clumsy-looking birds, everyone occasionally loses their footing. New Harvard University research suggests that it could literally be the spring, or damper, in your step that helps you bounce back from a stumble.

The work, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sheds new light on how legged animals maintain a remarkable degree of stability on uneven terrain, highlighting the dynamic elastic and dampening roles of ankles, feet, and other distal extremities in helping us recover after stumbling. It could also help engineers develop better prosthetics and robots robust enough to navigate terrain that would leave today's automatons spinning their wheels.

"Limbs perform wonderfully on uneven terrain," says author Andrew A. Biewener, the Charles P. Lyman Professor of Biology in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. "Legged animals routinely negotiate rough, unpredictable terrain with agility and stability that outmatches any human-built machine. Yet, we know surprisingly little about how animals accomplish this."

Together with colleague Monica A. Daley of Harvard's Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Biewener conducted experiments wherein helmeted guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) stepped unexpectedly into a concealed hole while running. Even though the hole's 8.5-centimeter depth equaled some 40 percent of the length of the birds' legs, the fowl remained stable and managed to maintain forward velocity, albeit most often by speeding up.

By monitoring the real-time forces exerted by the limb on the ground, as well as the angles and locations of key joints at the hip, knee, and ankle, Biewener and Daley determined that the stumbling birds' movements were consistent with a mass-spring model that treats the body as a mass balanced atop legs serving as springs. This springiness of the leg was concentrated at its dis
'"/>

Contact: Steve Bradt
steve_bradt@harvard.edu
617-496-8070
Harvard University
10-Oct-2006


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Cost-effective method for gene silencing is featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols
2. Springer launches Theoretical Ecology
3. Bioinformatics-related methods are featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols
4. Psychiatric Genomics Center established at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
5. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features methods to understand embryos, clones, stem cells
6. Cold Spring Harbor Laoratory president wins Curtin Medal
7. Springer ecology book wins award for excellence
8. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols highlights reliable methods for gene and protein analyses
9. Springer author receives prestigious award in Beijing
10. A frenzy of fruit fly methods featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols
11. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientists discover new gene that prevents multiple types of cancer

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:10/17/2019)... ... October 16, 2019 , ... The International ... ISPE Baseline® Guide: Water and Steam Systems (Third Edition) . This guide ... and steam systems. Industry professionals can better understand Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), to ...
(Date:10/11/2019)... ... 11, 2019 , ... Advanced Clinical, a clinical research services ... has been appointed Therapeutic Lead for Oncology. Dr. Tyan brings a wealth of ... scientific and delivery credentials previously offered at Advanced Clinical. , Dr. Tyan has ...
(Date:10/8/2019)... ... October 08, 2019 , ... Cryopak ... Research Council of Canada (NRC) to create the Laboratory of Industrial Fluidic ... in manufacturing, LIFT will offer a competitive capacity to accelerate the creation, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/8/2019)... ... October 08, 2019 , ... Today, Massachusetts stem cell biotechnology company ... Like the company’s precursor patent, approved in the U.S. in 2017, the new ... cells. Asymmetrex now markets the technology in the U.S. as the AlphaSTEM Test™. ...
(Date:10/3/2019)... ... 2019 , ... Cheyenne is a beautiful and strong Quarter Horse and a ... Rebel’s Run , which offers riding lessons and trail riding in Afton, Virginia. ... Mimi describes her as her “go to horse.” Thus, you can imagine ...
(Date:10/3/2019)... ... October 02, 2019 , ... Murrieta Genomics , the launch pad for ... companies in Silicon Valley at a special Life Science showcase event on ... at the JJ Lake Business Center located at 340 E. Middlefield Road in Mountain ...
(Date:10/3/2019)... ... October 02, 2019 , ... Rapid Novor, Inc., ... announce that it has moved into a new, 5000 sqft, purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility. ... facility demonstrates the company's continuous commitment to quality research and service offerings. ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: