Monday, November 10, 2014

Focus Percentage and Intensity variables? Arm Rotation Challenge Implications

A few weeks back, I did a video about an interesting little anomoly of motion that I've found most people tend to have (there seem to be a few exceptions that have no problems.) Since then, I've played around with a bit more in depth and found a few interesting little tricks to the formula. Just so we're on the same page here, I'll be reiterating the original prompt.

The idea is to try and rotate both your arms at the same time internally in the opposite direction. As an example, your right arm would be rotating forward away from your body while the left would be rotating backwards toward your body. It looks kind of like your pedaling a bike with your hands, but have one hand going the wrong direction. The act alone isn't too difficult, but rather its attempting to do so with speed that really tends to trip people up. I find the feeling to be an odd, sour like sensation as though something is off with the way I'm moving and most people tend to react similarly at the oddity of the feeling. If you still don't quite get it, here's the original video explanation:



Now then on to the new findings. First of all, in the middle of the video, I found that making my dominant hand (right) go back towards my body made it much more difficult. This spurred me on to experiment more and I found that there are some tricks to make it much easier.

The first of course is to do it really slowly and with a lot of attention. It still provides the bizarre sour feeling, but is still doable. The next and much easier method is to have the dominant hand (my right) rotating quickly and have the other one move slowly. This is much easier and has one hand moving quickly and allows the other one to move modestly as well. However, this one has the odd effect when I try making my non dominant hand (my left) the fast one of making movement with my right one "not possible".

The next interesting finding came when I tried the challenge while walking. I made an odd discovery the hard why by nearly falling over myself. You see, while I was doing the challenge, I couldn't turn by body. It was possible for me to briefly turn and then go right back to the rotations, but not both at the same time. This is weird because walking straight forward and even up stairs was a doable action but the moment I started rotating, turning became too much of a task.

A lot of interesting findings, but what does it all mean? Could I just be a special case or is there something more going on here? Considering that most people tend to have a similar reaction to me with the arm rotation challenge, I find that there may be something more to this. The best theory I can come up with is that every person has a limit to how much attention or focus they can put into an action. Perhaps that's a bit of a bold statement on my part, but we have a foundation for this.

It's often said that we humans are terrible at multitasking or just plain can't do it. I can slightly agree with this sentiment, although I've found that it's hard to really iron this out. I've often tried to create super efficient models for human locomotion using only 1 6DOF value for every limb and quickly switching this value to the necessary body part, but found that often times we may be able to do some things seemingly at the same time (like walking forward and rotating my hand). This has caused me to create a slightly altered theory based on this and an idea proposed in a recent video of D-News which states our spine also has some ability to learn and the concept of spinal locomotion.

Basically, my hunch is that our brain is very good at switching between tasks and having setting some tasks on autopilot. Effectively, when you're walking and performing a focus intensive task, your brain will prioritize the focus intensive task and leave walking, an action we've noted can be somewhat automated on autopilot. This is in some degrees a form of multitasking, but it comes at a price. In order to do a more intensive, non automated task like turning, the brain now must input a much more coordinately intensive set of commands to the legs, a feat that would require multitasking, however I found that it cannot be done without leaving the task at hand. Effectively the only way to stop the automation is to tell the automotive part stop moving. Otherwise, it will continue on and we continue to fool ourselves into thinking it's a fully multitasked item when really we're just quickly taking a small bit of attention to read the sensory data gained while walking to check for danger. Not quite as fancy now is it?

The other type of "automation" would be synchronous commands. It's extremely easy for me to rotate both hands forward in the same direction, but the moment I try to make the go the other way, it becomes significantly more difficult. I suspect the root of this is either in the lack of a need or that the brain is simply harnessing the same command and using it for 2 places at the same time. Also note that the symmetry seems to be more along the line of muscle actions rather than vectors. I can have both of my hands come toward each other or away from each other, to opposite directorial tasks but nigh symmetrical muscle contraction tasks.

I have one more weird shot here, but it's in regards to intensity or the speed of actions. I found that two attention intensive motions cannot be done at different speeds, at least in my case. Autopilot tasks seem to be doable, but the moment I try to do both with a degree of care, things kind of fall apart. This is EXTREMELY helpful for some of the things I have in mind for VR, but really starts to say some things on the nature of our brain if your ask me. I'm genuinely stunned at how many "shortcuts" our brain seems to take to get things done. It really makes me feel as though it's a computer that's struggling to cope with the wide amount of tasks reality presents it. I could be wrong, but what I've seen doesn't give me much pride.

I intend to use the principles I've learned here in conjunction with the Emotiv Insight next year to try and see whether or not I may be able to achieve a high speed, efficient method of full body motion using just the head next year, though there is one more thing that I want to investigate before I make my move. I'm hoping for the best and proceeding forward in my studies to see if I can find any more leads and information of value. I have a feeling I may need one or two more EEG device in this mix based on the positioning of the sensors on the insight, but if I can do more with less, I'll take up that chance.

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