In a recent study, we measured muscle activity and metabolic cost as subjects adapted to a visuomotor rotation. Surprisingly we observed increases in both muscle activity, coactivation, and metabolic cost, even though the perturbation was solely kinematic. Perhaps muscle coactivation is a fundamental strategy used in the presence of uncertainty, regardless of the underlying cause. The paper was just accepted and is in press at the Journal of Neurophysiology.
The National Science Foundation has awarded Alaa their prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for her proposal entitled “The Neuroeconomics of Metabolic Cost in Movement Decision Making". The NSF CAREER Award recognizes young faculty members with five-year grants to support outstanding research projects and career development activities, including education and outreach initiatives, of teacher-scholars. Read the full abstract here: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?
Alison's paper is accepted just in time for the New Year! Our findings demonstrate that transfer of postural adapation between stance widths depends on the context in which the task was initially learned.
We have recently received an Oculus Rift head-mounted display. We have begun devloping immersive, virtual environments for human subjects experiments. Combining this device with other commodity-grade equipment, such as the Wiimote, Wii balance board, and Microsoft Kinect, allows us to create an inexpensive system that can be used for learning about biomechanics at the high-school level.