Tag Archives: treadmill

Dekneecapitated My Life 18 AUG 2010

It would seem that the treadmills at Steenberg Virgin Active have suddenly all decided to rebel against me.

So picture this. It’s lunch hour and I find myself happily kitted out in gym and ready to put in a quick 20 minute run before I return to my ball and chain back at the office.

The first treadmill I step on has much promise, overlooking the swimming pool, a working television monitor, looks pretty clean – only one problem though – it looks like the software has jammed up because this damn thing simply won’t start up!

No worries though, this is a whole bank of treadmills, none of which are currently in use. So I’ll simply shift over to the next one, and punch in the exercise plan and hey, I’m off.

However, only five minutes into my run and all of a sudden the unit loses power and decelerates to a stop, leaving a rather sweaty and bemused Craig standing at a complete and utter loss for words.

Bugger. Two treadmills in one session?

Oh well, on to the next one then I suppose. This one started out a lot better and soon I was happily huffing and puffing away, plodding along at a fair speed and enjoying the exertion while watching some TV on the monitor, when all of a sudden, without warning, the machine stopped dead in its tracks, screaming a message about the track being blocked and catapulting a rather surprised Craig violently forwards.

Now of course, with my body weight being what it is, it takes a little longer for my upper body to stop going forward after my legs have already been planted (damn you inertia!), and so there was no real alternative other than to crash heavily into the front of the treadmill.

Ouchie.

Needless to say, it really isn’t a surprise that I now pick the exercise bikes until I reckon it’s safe to approach those nasty treadmills again! :P

See, see, they aren't targeting her at all!

Monkey See, Monkey Do! General Nonsense 05 FEB 2008

RobotI love it whenever I see Science Fiction become Science Reality. Case in point: The monkey propels the robot.

A couple of weeks ago this remarkable report appeared which tells the story of how a small monkey named Idoya made a rather large humanoid robot walk on a treadmill – using only her brain activity! And to make this story even more amazing – she was in North Carolina, USA while the robot was in Japan.

Basically this is what was done. For a couple of months the researchers trained Idoya to walk on a treadmill. At the same time the scientists were recording the various brain activities and neuron responses to her walking action, generating a language that a computer would be able to understand.

Once all the preliminary work was done, Idoya (who has electrodes implanted in her brain) was then introduced back to her treadmill, this time with a big screen in front of it. On this screen was the live video of the CB (Computational Brain) robot, also standing on his very own treadmill over in Japan. As Idoya began walking along the treadmill, her recorded neuron patterns were fed into CB so that he too began to walk, basically copying Idoya’s thought patterns. The response time was less than a quarter of a second, so Idoya basically became attuned to the robot’s movements.

Backwards and forwards Idoya walked, controlling the robot at every step of the way until the researchers decided to play a trick on her and did something rather unexpected – they stopped the treadmill. As everyone held their breath, Idoya’s eyes remained focussed on CB’s legs and much to everyone’s jubilation, CB continued to walk as Idoya maintained her concentration on the robot.

This is a huge step in showing how it is feasible for humans’ to be able to control equipment like exoskeletons using only the power of their mind, and once we find out how to safely place electrodes in a human brain, this may very well be the next step in creating a new Science Fact!

Once again, a person can’t help but be impressed by human ingenuity. Honestly, sometimes it seems that nothing is impossible for us as a race – except perhaps the creation self-cleaning baths and showers – those things would sell like hotcakes!

Related Link: http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/01/16/healthscience/15robo.php