Effect of Variation in Speed on Target Interception

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Effect of Variation in Speed on Target Interception

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In day to day life, we make use of hand eye coordination to perform everyday tasks such as reaching out our hand to grab a glass of water or moving a finger over a keyboard to push a button. But we rarely think about the complex processes that occur inside our brains in the very short time span between when we think about moving our hand to actually making contact with the target. With this experiment, we wish to extend our knowledge of how sensory information is utilized to predict the motion of objects targeted by the hand and the extent of hand and eye coordination during this task. We also wish to examine how the speed and acceleration of a moving target affects the decision making process prior to the onset of motion of the subject's hand. To create variation in the speed and acceleration, the motion of the target was governed by one of three speed laws for each trial. With the first law, the target's motion was constructed from a sum of sines in the x and y directions; with the second law, the target's instantaneous velocity was inversely proportional to the curvature of the path at that point; and lastly, as per the third law, the target moved at a constant speed. Based on these three laws, the corresponding targets traveled quite differently around curves and straight paths due to the dissimilar acceleration or even the lack of tangential acceleration. Defining how subjects incorporate information about changes in direction, speed and acceleration provides insight into how the brain processes sensory information.


Additional contributors: Zach J. Juveli; John Soechting (mentor), Department of Neuroscience

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Rao, Hrishikesh. (2009). Effect of Variation in Speed on Target Interception. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/48949.

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