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Distraction From Smartphones Changed Pedestrians’ Walking Behaviors in Open Areas

Yue Luo, Nicolas Grimaldi, Haolan Zheng, Wayne C.W. Giang, and Boyi Hu

The prevalence of phone use has become a major concern for pedestrian safety. Using smartphones while walking reduces pedestrians’ ability to perceive the environment by increasing their cognitive, manual, and visual demands. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of common phone tasks (i.e., reading, tapping, gaming) on walking behaviors during outdoor walking. Nineteen young adults were instructed to complete four walking conditions (walking only, walking–reading, walking–tapping, and walking–gaming) along an open corridor. Results showed that all three phone tasks increased participants’ neck flexion (i.e., neck kyphosis) during walking. Meanwhile, the reading task showed a greater influence on the temporal aspect during the early phases of a gait cycle. The tapping task lowered the flexion angles of the middle and lower back (i.e., torso lordosis) and induced a longer terminal double support. And the gaming task resulted in a decrease in middle back flexion, a shorter stride length, and a longer terminal double support while walking. Findings from the study confirmed our hypothesis that phone tasks changed pedestrians’ physical responses to smartphone distraction while walking. To avoid potential risks caused by the observed posture and gait adaptations, safety precautions (e.g., roadside/electronic warning signals) might be imposed depending on the workload expected by different phone tasks.

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Patterns of Movement Performance and Consistency From Childhood to Old Age

Jessica Prebor, Brittany Samulski, Cortney Armitano-Lago, and Steven Morrison

It is widely accepted that the general process of aging can be reflected by changes in motor function. Typically, optimal performance of a given motor task is observed for healthy young adults with declines being observed for individuals at either end of the lifespan. This study was designed to examine differences in the average and variability (i.e., intraindividual variability) of chewing, simple reaction time, postural control, and walking responses. For this study, 15 healthy children, 15 young adults, and 15 older adults participated. Our results indicated the movement performance for the reaction time and postural sway followed a U shape with young adults having faster reaction times and decreased postural sway compared to the children and older adults. However, this pattern was not preserved across all motor tasks with no age differences emerging for (normalized) gait speed, while chewing rates followed a U-shaped curve with older adults and children chewing at faster rates. Taken together, these findings would indicate that the descriptive changes in motor function with aging are heavily influenced by the nature of the task being performed and are unlikely to follow a singular pattern.

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Adaptive Regulation in a Stable Performance Environment: Trial-To-Trial Consistency in Cue Sports Performance

Jing Wen Pan, Pui Wah Kong, and John Komar

This study aimed to investigate individual trial-to-trial performance in three tests to define adaptive regulation as a key feature of expertise in nine-ball. Thirty-one male players were assigned into the low-skilled (n = 11), intermediate (n = 10), or high-skilled groups (n = 10). The power control, cue alignment, and angle tests were selected to assess participants’ ability to control the power applied in shots, strike the ball straight, and understand the ball paths, respectively. Error distance and correction of error distance were identified for each shot using 2D video analysis. Results of one-way analysis of variance showed that the high-skilled group performed better in two out of the three tests than the other two groups (p = .010 for the cue alignment test; p = .002 for the angle test). However, the adaptation effect represented by the decreased error distances across trials was not observed. Pearson correlation revealed only a few significant correlations between the error distance and its correction within each participant in all tests (p < .05), and hence, the hypothesis that “low correction happened after small error and vice versa” is not supported.

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Balance and Cognition in Male Collegiate Lacrosse Players

Dennis W. Klima, Ethan Hood, Meredith Madden, Rachel Bell, Teresa Dawson, Catherine McGill, and Michael Patterson

Concussion screening among collegiate lacrosse athletes is a major safety priority. Although attention has been directed at concussion management following injury, less is known about the association between cognition and balance during preseason screening. The purpose of the study was to assess the relationship between balance and neurocognition among collegiate male lacrosse players and to examine predictive determinants of postural stability. Participants included a convenience sample of 49 male collegiate Division 3 lacrosse players who completed a demographic survey and performed the immediate postconcussion test (ImPACT) and instrumented Sensory Organization Test (SOT). There was a significant association between balance SOT performance and both verbal memory (r = .59, p < .01) and visual motor speed scores (r = .43, p < .05). Significant correlations between verbal memory and SOT Conditions 2, 5, and 6 were also noted (all p < .05). Verbal memory predicted 33% of the variance in the SOT composite balance score (p < .001). Our results indicate a significant relationship exists between postural stability and both verbal memory and visual processing speed among collegiate male lacrosse players and supports vestibulocortical associations. Findings warrant ongoing performance and executive function tracking and can serve as a conduit for integrated sensorimotor and dual-task training.

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Introduction to the Special Z-Issue in Honor of the 90th Birthday of Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky

Mark L. Latash

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Inverse Saxophone—A Device to Study the Role of Individual Finger Perturbations on Grasp Stability

Thomas Jacob, Swarnab Dutta, Salai Jeyaseelan Annamalai, and Varadhan SKM

The efficient coordination of fingertip forces to maintain static equilibrium while grasping an object continues to intrigue scientists. While many studies have explored this coordination, most of these studies assumed that interactions of hands primarily occur with rigid inanimate objects. Instead, our daily interactions with living and nonliving entities involve many dynamic, compliant, or fragile bodies. This paper investigates the fingertip force coordination on a manipulandum that changes its shape while grasping it. We designed a five-finger perturbation system with linear actuators at positions corresponding to each finger that would protrude outward from the center of the handle or retract toward the center of the handle as programmed. The behavior of the perturbed fingers and the other fingers while grasping this device was studied. Based on previous experiments on expanding and contracting handles, we hypothesized that each finger would exhibit a comparable response to similar horizontal perturbations. However, the response of the little finger was significantly different from the other fingers. We speculate that the central nervous system demonstrates preferential recruitment of some fingers over others while performing a task.

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Electrical Stimulation of Distal Tibial Nerve During Stance Phase of Walking May Reverse Effects of Unilateral Paw Pad Anesthesia in the Cat

Hangue Park, Alexander N. Klishko, Kyunggeune Oh, Celina Zhang, Gina Grenga, Kinsey R. Herrin, John F. Dalton IV, Robert S. Kistenberg, Michel A. Lemay, Mark Pitkin, Stephen P. DeWeerth, and Boris I. Prilutsky

Cutaneous feedback from feet is involved in regulation of muscle activity during locomotion, and the lack of this feedback results in motor deficits. We tested the hypothesis that locomotor changes caused by local unilateral anesthesia of paw pads in the cat could be reduced/reversed by electrical stimulation of cutaneous and proprioceptive afferents in the distal tibial nerve during stance. Several split-belt conditions were investigated in four adult female cats. In addition, we investigated the effects of similar distal tibial nerve stimulation on overground walking of one male cat that had a transtibial, bone-anchored prosthesis for 29 months and, thus, had no cutaneous/proprioceptive feedback from the foot. In all treadmill conditions, cats walked with intact cutaneous feedback (control), with right fore- and hindpaw pads anesthetized by lidocaine injections, and with a combination of anesthesia and electrical stimulation of the ipsilateral distal tibial nerve during the stance phase at 1.2× threshold of afferent activation. Electrical stimulation of the distal tibial nerve during the stance phase of walking with anesthetized ipsilateral paw pads reversed or significantly reduced the effects of paw pad anesthesia on several kinematic variables, including lateral center of mass shift, cycle and swing durations, and duty factor. We also found that stimulation of the residual distal tibial nerve in the prosthetic hindlimb often had different effects on kinematics compared with stimulation of the intact hindlimb with paw anesthetized. We suggest that stimulation of cutaneous and proprioceptive afferents in the distal tibial nerve provides functionally meaningful motion-dependent sensory feedback, and stimulation responses depend on limb conditions.

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External Focus Reduces Accuracy and Increases Antagonist Muscle Activation in Novice Adolescent Soccer Players

Serkan Uslu and Emel Çetin Özdoğan

Instep kick is one of the most effective kicking techniques in soccer. Lower extremity muscles and joints play a crucial role during instep kick. However, external (EF) and internal focus and their effect on the muscles are still ambiguous. In this study, 13 male adolescent soccer players were included and aimed to hit the targets in internal and EF conditions. Lower extremity muscle activations were measured with surface electromyography, and kinematics were measured with a high-speed video camera. Muscle activations and movement latencies were analyzed in four different phases (backswing, leg cocking, acceleration, and follow-through) of kicking. While 10 out of 13 participants kicked accurately in internal focus, only five out of 13 in EF kicked accurately. Gastrocnemius muscle activations increased significantly in EF in all phases except acceleration. Movement latencies were found 0.07 ± 0.002 s for accurate and 0.05 ± 0.004 s for inaccurate kicks in EF. A correlation has been found between accuracy and movement latency in EF (R = .67). Our results suggest that novices cannot yet coordinate their muscles in EF, cocontraction ratio increases. Therefore, training strategies that aim to reduce the cocontraction ratio can help the athlete increase performance through better motor coordination. Moreover, better motor coordination may be beneficial in preventing injuries (joint stiffness, etc.) caused by increased cocontraction ratio.

Open access

Decoupled Control of Grasp and Rotation Constraints During Prehension of Weightless Objects

Dayuan Xu, Jiwon Park, Jiseop Lee, Sungjune Lee, and Jaebum Park

Gravity provides critical information for the adjustment of body movement or manipulation of the handheld object. Indeed, the changes in gravity modify the mechanical constraints of prehensile actions, which may be accompanied by the changes in control strategies. The current study examined the effect of the gravitational force of a handheld object on the control strategies for subactions of multidigit prehension. A total of eight subjects performed prehensile tasks while grasping and lifting the handle by about 250 mm along the vertical direction. The experiment consisted of two conditions: lifting gravity-induced (1g) and weightless (0g) handheld objects. The weightless object condition was implemented utilizing a robot arm that produced a constant antigravitational force of the handle. The current analysis was limited to the two-dimensional grasping plane, and the notion of the virtual finger was employed to formulate the cause–effect chain of elemental variables during the prehensile action. The results of correlation analyses confirmed that decoupled organization of two subsets of mechanical variables was observed in both 1g and 0g conditions. While lifting the handle, the two subsets of variables were assumed to contribute to the grasping and rotational equilibrium, respectively. Notably, the normal forces of the thumb and virtual finger had strong positive correlations. In contrast, the normal forces had no significant relationship with the variables as to the moment of force. We conclude that the gravitational force had no detrimental effect on adjustments of the mechanical variables for the rotational action and its decoupling from the grasping equilibrium.

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Optimization Reduces Knee-Joint Forces During Walking and Squatting: Validating the Inverse Dynamics Approach for Full Body Movements on Instrumented Knee Prostheses

Heiko Wagner, Kim Joris Boström, Marc H.E. de Lussanet, Myriam L. de Graaf, Christian Puta, and Luis Mochizuki

Because of the redundancy of our motor system, movements can be performed in many ways. While multiple motor control strategies can all lead to the desired behavior, they result in different joint and muscle forces. This creates opportunities to explore this redundancy, for example, for pain avoidance or reducing the risk of further injury. To assess the effect of different motor control optimization strategies, a direct measurement of muscle and joint forces is desirable, but problematic for medical and ethical reasons. Computational modeling might provide a solution by calculating approximations of these forces. In this study, we used a full-body computational musculoskeletal model to (a) predict forces measured in knee prostheses during walking and squatting and (b) study the effect of different motor control strategies (i.e., minimizing joint force vs. muscle activation) on the joint load and prediction error. We found that musculoskeletal models can accurately predict knee joint forces with a root mean squared error of <0.5 body weight (BW) in the superior direction and about 0.1 BW in the medial and anterior directions. Generally, minimization of joint forces produced the best predictions. Furthermore, minimizing muscle activation resulted in maximum knee forces of about 4 BW for walking and 2.5 BW for squatting. Minimizing joint forces resulted in maximum knee forces of 2.25 BW and 2.12 BW, that is, a reduction of 44% and 15%, respectively. Thus, changing the muscular coordination strategy can strongly affect knee joint forces. Patients with a knee prosthesis may adapt their neuromuscular activation to reduce joint forces during locomotion.