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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Escalator Wobble

Too much time on their hands

Not quite sure why scientists at Imperial College have been doing this, but today Metro reported that they have got to the bottom of "broken escalator wobble". You know the sensation you get when you step onto an escalator that isn't working although you think it is and you lose your balance or get a bit dizzy. Apparently it's the conflict between what the brain knows is going to happen (no movement) and what it thinks is going to happen, based on previous experience (movement). We all speed up when approaching an escalator, so when it isn't moving we stumble.

The Professors at Imperial didn't test this on escalators though (although I'm sure they had plently of broken ones to choose from), but on sleds in a laboratory.


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