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The implications of how we control a bicycle


Narrator:       This is Science Today. A team of engineers are studying just how a human controls a bicycle to get a broader understanding of how humans interact with control systems. Ron Hess, a mechanical and aerospace engineer at the University of California, Davis teaches aircraft stability, flight control design and control systems.

Hess:  We are interested in looking at the way humans interact with bicycles and that may seem like a curious research project but it turns out when a human rides a bike, he or she uses almost all the sensory information available to control the vehicle, starting out with the rich sensors that are in our arms and limbs.

Narrator:       Hess explains that what they learn can be applied to a human's control of any dynamic system.

Hess:             To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, a vehicle is a vehicle is a vehicle, so what we learn here about bicycles can be applied to the humans' control of any dynamic system, automobiles, even aircraft.  So when we learn about the humans controlling the bicycle we can also learn about how humans may control other dynamic systems.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.