What Juggling Is Teaching Scientists About Running

September 24, 2014

noah jugglingResearch on juggling is giving scientists a better understanding of how we’re able to do “no-brainer” activities like walking and running.

A new study in the Journal of Neurophysiology shows that touch sensation, also known as haptic feedback, plays an important role in maintaining the rhythm that is integral to juggling.

“The haptic sensation is just a tiny bit of feedback that’s provided once per juggling cycle,” study researcher Noah Cowan, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, said in a statement. “Yet that tiny bit of information seems to be critical for people to improve their juggling performance. We think that’s because while vision provides excellent spatial and positioning information, the haptic information provides very important timing information.”

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Laboratory for Computational Sensing + Robotics