Is there a way to walk across slippery surfaces without falling?
RECENT RESEARCH AT the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in California found that we balance on slippery or narrow surfaces using clusters of RORa neurones in the spinal cord. These ‘mini brains’ process the huge amount of sensory information coming from your skin, muscles, inner ear and eyes and make hundreds of tiny corrections per second. It’s a bit like the ABS in your car constantly watching for a skid and pumping the brakes before it happens. You can also reduce your chances of a fall by copying penguins. When you walk normally, your centre of gravity is only directly above the weight-bearing foot for a small part of each stride. If you waddle from side to side instead, your centre of gravity always stays above one foot or the other. This reduces the sideways forces and makes it much less likely that your foot will suddenly slip out from under you.
Walk like a penguin to avoid slippery mishaps