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Concept: Velocity


Several groups have developed brain-machine-interfaces (BMIs) that allow primates to use cortical activity to control artificial limbs. Yet, it remains unknown whether cortical ensembles could represent the kinematics of whole-body navigation and be used to operate a BMI that moves a wheelchair continuously in space. Here we show that rhesus monkeys can learn to navigate a robotic wheelchair, using their cortical activity as the main control signal. Two monkeys were chronically implanted with multichannel microelectrode arrays that allowed wireless recordings from ensembles of premotor and sensorimotor cortical neurons. Initially, while monkeys remained seated in the robotic wheelchair, passive navigation was employed to train a linear decoder to extract 2D wheelchair kinematics from cortical activity. Next, monkeys employed the wireless BMI to translate their cortical activity into the robotic wheelchair’s translational and rotational velocities. Over time, monkeys improved their ability to navigate the wheelchair toward the location of a grape reward. The navigation was enacted by populations of cortical neurons tuned to whole-body displacement. During practice with the apparatus, we also noticed the presence of a cortical representation of the distance to reward location. These results demonstrate that intracranial BMIs could restore whole-body mobility to severely paralyzed patients in the future.

Concepts: Old World monkey, Monkeys in space, Brain, Macaque, Velocity, Rhesus Macaque, Cerebral cortex, Primate


Jointed exoskeletons permit rapid appendage-driven locomotion but retain the soft-bodied, shape-changing ability to explore confined environments. We challenged cockroaches with horizontal crevices smaller than a quarter of their standing body height. Cockroaches rapidly traversed crevices in 300-800 ms by compressing their body 40-60%. High-speed videography revealed crevice negotiation to be a complex, discontinuous maneuver. After traversing horizontal crevices to enter a vertically confined space, cockroaches crawled at velocities approaching 60 cm⋅s(-1), despite body compression and postural changes. Running velocity, stride length, and stride period only decreased at the smallest crevice height (4 mm), whereas slipping and the probability of zigzag paths increased. To explain confined-space running performance limits, we altered ceiling and ground friction. Increased ceiling friction decreased velocity by decreasing stride length and increasing slipping. Increased ground friction resulted in velocity and stride length attaining a maximum at intermediate friction levels. These data support a model of an unexplored mode of locomotion-“body-friction legged crawling” with body drag, friction-dominated leg thrust, but no media flow as in air, water, or sand. To define the limits of body compression in confined spaces, we conducted dynamic compressive cycle tests on living animals. Exoskeletal strength allowed cockroaches to withstand forces 300 times body weight when traversing the smallest crevices and up to nearly 900 times body weight without injury. Cockroach exoskeletons provided biological inspiration for the manufacture of an origami-style, soft, legged robot that can locomote rapidly in both open and confined spaces.

Concepts: Human height, Terrestrial locomotion, Crawling, Space, Height, Velocity, Force, Mass


The quest to ‘forward-engineer’ and fabricate biological machines remains a grand challenge. Towards this end, we have fabricated locomotive “bio-bots” from hydrogels and cardiomyocytes using a 3D printer. The multi-material bio-bot consisted of a ‘biological bimorph’ cantilever structure as the actuator to power the bio-bot, and a base structure to define the asymmetric shape for locomotion. The cantilever structure was seeded with a sheet of contractile cardiomyocytes. We evaluated the locomotive mechanisms of several designs of bio-bots by changing the cantilever thickness. The bio-bot that demonstrated the most efficient mechanism of locomotion maximized the use of contractile forces for overcoming friction of the supporting leg, while preventing backward movement of the actuating leg upon relaxation. The maximum recorded velocity of the bio-bot was ~236 µm s(-1), with an average displacement per power stroke of ~354 µm and average beating frequency of ~1.5 Hz.

Concepts: Velocity, Walking, Cantilever, Bore, Quest, Cylinder, Locomotion, Force


Predation plays a central role in the lives of most organisms. Predators must find and subdue prey to survive and reproduce, whereas prey must avoid predators to do the same. The resultant antagonistic coevolution often leads to extreme adaptations in both parties. Few examples capture the imagination like a rapid strike from a venomous snake. However, almost nothing is known about strike performance of viperid snakes under natural conditions. We obtained high-speed (500 fps) three-dimensional video in the field (at night using infrared lights) of Mohave rattlesnakes (Crotalus scutulatus) attempting to capture Merriam’s kangaroo rats (Dipodomys merriami). Strikes occurred from a range of distances (4.6 to 20.6 cm), and rattlesnake performance was highly variable. Missed capture attempts resulted from both rapid escape maneuvers and poor strike accuracy. Maximum velocity and acceleration of some rattlesnake strikes fell within the range of reported laboratory values, but some far exceeded most observations. Thus, quantifying rapid predator-prey interactions in the wild will propel our understanding of animal performance.

Concepts: Velocity, Cat, Rattlesnake, Lotka–Volterra equation, Snake, Crotalus, Predation, Crotalinae


Smooth pursuit eye movements (SPEM) are needed to keep the retinal image of slowly moving objects within the fovea. Depending on the task, about 50%-80% of patients with schizophrenia have difficulties in maintaining SPEM. We designed a study that comprised different target velocities as well as testing for internal (extraretinal) guidance of SPEM in the absence of a visual target. We applied event-related fMRI by presenting four velocities (5, 10, 15, 20°/s) both with and without intervals of target blanking. 17 patients and 16 healthy participants were included. Eye movements were registered during scanning sessions. Statistical analysis included mixed ANOVAs and regression analyses of the target velocity on the Blood Oxygen Level Dependency (BOLD) signal. The main effect group and the interaction of velocity×group revealed reduced activation in V5 and putamen but increased activation of cerebellar regions in patients. Regression analysis showed that activation in supplementary eye field, putamen, and cerebellum was not correlated to target velocity in patients in contrast to controls. Furthermore, activation in V5 and in intraparietal sulcus (putative LIP) bilaterally was less strongly correlated to target velocity in patients than controls. Altered correlation of target velocity and neural activation in the cortical network supporting SPEM (V5, SEF, LIP, putamen) implies impaired transformation of the visual motion signal into an adequate motor command in patients. Cerebellar regions seem to be involved in compensatory mechanisms although cerebellar activity in patients was not related to target velocity.

Concepts: Visual system, Saccade, Oxygen saturation, Smooth pursuit, Velocity, Retina, Statistics, Regression analysis


OBJECTIVE: We investigated the potential of galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) to quantify lateralised asymmetry of the vestibulospinal pathways by measuring balance responses to monaural GVS in 10 subjects with vestibular schwannoma and 22 healthy control subjects. METHODS: Subjects standing without vision were stimulated with 3s, 1mA direct current stimuli delivered monaurally. The mean magnitude and direction of the evoked balance responses in the horizontal plane were measured from ground-reaction forces and from displacement and velocity of the trunk. Vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials (VEMPs) to 500Hz air and bone-conducted tones were also recorded. RESULTS: In healthy subjects, the magnitudes of the force, velocity and displacement responses were not significantly different for left compared to right ear stimulation. Their individual asymmetry ratios were always <30%. Subjects with vestibular schwannoma had significantly smaller force, velocity and displacement responses to stimulation of the affected compared with non-affected ear. Their mean asymmetry ratios were significantly elevated for all three measures (41.2±10.3%, 40.3±15.1% and 21.9±14.6%). CONCLUSIONS: Asymmetry ratios of balance responses to monaural GVS provide a quantitative and clinically applicable lateralising test of the vestibulospinal pathways. SIGNIFICANCE: This method offers a more clinically relevant measure of standing balance than existing vestibular function tests which assess only vestibuloocular and vestibulocollic pathways.

Concepts: Horizontal plane, Mass, Potential energy, Force, Velocity, Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation, Measurement, Vestibular system


A modified smoothed particle hydrodynamic (MSPH) computational technique was utilized to simulate molten particle motion and infiltration speed on multi-scale analysis levels. The radial velocity and velocity gradient of molten alumina, iron infiltration in the TiC product and solidification rate, were predicted during centrifugal self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS) simulation, which assisted the coating process by MSPH. The effects of particle size and temperature on infiltration and solidification of iron and alumina were mainly investigated. The obtained results were validated with experimental microstructure evidence. The simulation model successfully describes the magnitude of iron and alumina diffusion in a centrifugal thermite SHS and Ti + C hybrid reaction under centrifugal acceleration.

Concepts: Oxygen, Computational sociology, Acceleration, Chemical reaction, Liquid, Reactive centrifugal force, Chemical engineering, Velocity


For modern synthetic aperture radar (SAR), it has much more urgent demands on ground moving target indication (GMTI), which includes not only the point moving targets like cars, truck or tanks but also the distributed moving targets like river or ocean surfaces. Among the existing GMTI methods, displaced phase center antenna (DPCA) can effectively cancel the strong ground clutter and has been widely used. However, its detection performance is closely related to the target’s signal-to-clutter ratio (SCR) as well as radial velocity, and it cannot effectively detect the weak large-sized river surfaces in strong ground clutter due to their low SCR caused by specular scattering. This paper proposes a novel method called relative residue of DPCA (RR-DPCA), which jointly utilizes the DPCA cancellation outputs and the multi-look images to improve the detection performance of weak river surfaces. Furthermore, based on the statistics analysis of the RR-DPCA outputs on the homogenous background, the cell average (CA) method can be well applied for subsequent constant false alarm rate (CFAR) detection. The proposed RR-DPCA method can well detect the point moving targets and distributed moving targets simultaneously. Finally, the results of both simulated and real data are provided to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed SAR/GMTI method.

Concepts: Aperture synthesis, False alarm, Moving target indication, Radar signal processing, Velocity, Synthetic aperture radar, Detection theory, Radar


Appropriate hoof preparation and symmetry are linked to the wellbeing of the horse. Previous studies have shown the efficacy of the pressure plates (PP) in delivering objective biomechanical analysis. We aimed to assess the effect of hoof trimming on hoof biomechanics using a PP. Nine clinically sound Arabian horses were walked across the PP while foot strike was recorded by a digital camera. Kinetic and kinematic parameters were recorded before and after trimming. P values ≤ 0.05 were considered significant. Vertical force (P = 0.026) and contact pressure (P = 0.006), increased after trimming. Stance phase duration (P = 0.006), swing phase duration (P = 0.023) and gait cycle duration (P = 0.007), decreased significantly post-trimming. The observed changes in kinetic and kinematic parameters are related to hoof trimming. The reported results underline the importance of the farriery practice and its effect on hoof biomechanics, which should be considered by farriers and veterinarians.

Concepts: Farrier, Velocity, Walking, Horse hoof, Classical mechanics, Biomechanics, Kinematics, Horse


Solar geoengineering is receiving increased policy attention as a potential tool to offset climate warming. While climate responses to geoengineering have been studied in detail, the potential biodiversity consequences are largely unknown. To avoid extinction, species must either adapt or move to track shifting climates. Here, we assess the effects of the rapid implementation, continuation and sudden termination of geoengineering on climate velocities-the speeds and directions that species would need to move to track changes in climate. Compared to a moderate climate change scenario (RCP4.5), rapid geoengineering implementation reduces temperature velocities towards zero in terrestrial biodiversity hotspots. In contrast, sudden termination increases both ocean and land temperature velocities to unprecedented speeds (global medians >10 km yr-1) that are more than double the temperature velocities for recent and future climate change in global biodiversity hotspots. Furthermore, as climate velocities more than double in speed, rapid climate fragmentation occurs in biomes such as temperate grasslands and forests where temperature and precipitation velocity vectors diverge spatially by >90°. Rapid geoengineering termination would significantly increase the threats to biodiversity from climate change.

Concepts: Earth, Speed, Steppe, Velocity, Climate, Climate change, Global warming, Biodiversity