bipedal anticipation

26 02 2010

have you ever noticed how your brain anticipates several strides ahead which foot will be the one to tackle an approaching step(s) or obstacle?  for reasons that probably aren’t worth discussing, i’ve been observing this phenomenon a lot lately!

for me the most striking example of the brain’s ability to predict not only which will be the foot to tackle the first step or obstacle – as many as 8 steps ahead, speaking for myself – but also to adjust your approach angle to favour the left or right foot as appropriate, is when you’re crossing a road and come to the gutter step, something often done at an angle, rather than head on (at least for j-walkers like me).

just today i noticed this whole ballet of mind and body again.  while crossing the street and approaching the opposite gutter at about a 45 degree angle, i noticed myself realise that the best foot for this particular orientation was the right foot, and that at my current trajectory my right foot would miss & i’d end up with a broken stride, so i needed to either sharpen or flatten my approach angle, and did – at least 6 steps before i reached the gutter.

it’s probably just another of those amazing little calculations that the so-called “unused 90%” of our brains does in a flash without us barely noticing.

that is all.