Saturday, March 27, 2010

3-27-10: Stability - Balance Experiment

I'm taking a quick break from a homework assignment for my grad class in Feedback and Control Systems because I just finished a problem that involved the following experiment:

- Stand with one foot in front of another, with your hands resting on your hips and your elbows bowed outward.
- Close your eyes.

Did you experience a low-frequency oscillation that grew until you lost your balance? Is this orientation stable with and without the use of your eyes?

I certainly did. The problem description actually began with: "We all use our eyes and ears to achieve balance. Our orientation system allows us to sit or stand in a desired position even while in motion. This orientation system is primarily run by the information received in the inner ear, where the semicircular canals sense angular acceleration and the otoliths measure linear acceleration. But these acceleration measurements need to be supplemented by visual signals."

Neat. The problem is from Modern Control Systems, 11th ed. by Dorf and Bishop

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