Navigation Links
In the race to the top, zigzagging is more efficient than a straight line
Date:2/20/2008

A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it isnt necessarily the fastest or easiest path to follow.

Thats particularly true when terrain is not level, and now American and British researchers have developed a mathematical model showing that a zigzag course provides the most efficient way for humans to go up or down steep slopes.

I think zigzagging is something people do intuitively, said Marcos Llobera, a University of Washington assistant professor of anthropology who is a landscape archaeologist. People recognize that zigzagging, or switchbacks, help but they dont realize why they came about.

Llobera, who is interested in reconstructing patterns of movement within past landscapes, said the model and a study that describes it stem from earlier research that looked at the emergence of trail systems. That research focused on flat terrain.

You would expect a similar process on any landscape, but when you have changes in elevation it makes things more complicated, he said. There is a point, or critical slope, where it becomes metabolically too costly to go straight ahead, so people move at an angle, cutting into the slope. Eventually they need to go back toward the direction they were originally headed and this creates zigzags. The steeper the slope, the more important it is that you tackle it at the right angle.

Trails evolve, among other reasons, because of physical differences in people and the differences in the biomechanics and energy cost of ascending and descending a slope.

You get a different pattern if people are going up or down and this may lead to the emergence of shortcuts. Walking downhill generally takes less energy except for braking. We would expect to see different paths going up and down, but what we end up with is a compromise and shortcuts arent as apparent.

Llobera said many other physical factors can influence the creation and development of a trail or path, and that the new model is a simplified one and a place to start. Eventually he hopes to build a simulation engine that would allow archaeologists to plug in a terrain and explore different patterns of movement through it. He is particularly interested in using it with landscapes that have resulted from the accumulations of various societies and cultures.


'/>"/>

Contact: Joel Schwarz
joels@u.washington.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Colorado Engineering Firms Win NASA Grant to Develop Innovative Insulation for Next Generation Spacecraft - Super-Insulation May Allow Future Energy Efficient Appliances
2. Satellites help ensure efficient use of pesticides
3. 454 Sequencing: Science paper describes a novel, highly efficient method of sequencing ancient DNA
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
In the race to the top, zigzagging is more efficient than a straight line
(Date:4/11/2017)... Apr. 11, 2017 Research and Markets has ... report to their offering. ... The global eye tracking market to grow at a CAGR of ... Eye Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth ... market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... LONDON , April 6, 2017 ... Control, RFID, ANPR, Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & ... Energy Facility, Oil, Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear ... Healthcare, Educational, Other) Are you looking for ... Authentication sector? ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... LONDON , April 4, 2017 KEY ... is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 25.76% ... neurodegenerative diseases is the primary factor for the growth ... full report: https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4807905/ MARKET INSIGHTS The ... of product, technology, application, and geography. The stem cell ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... of high quality relocatable and permanent modular buildings, announced the launch of ... and modern office design characteristics to help support on-site teamwork and collaboration. ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Firmex today ... makes it easy for organizations to send and gather large files and confidential ... or email file size limitations. , Using the same market-tested infrastructure as ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... NetDimensions has been ... Aragon Research Globe™ for Corporate Learning, 2017. , Aragon Research defines Leaders as ... and effectively perform against those strategies. NetDimensions’ ranking as a Leader due to ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... as Vice President of Clinical Operations. She brings years of expertise in establishing ... From her professional foundation as a licensed occupational therapist, through a variety of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: