Navigation Links
Scientists set out to measure how we perceive naturalness
Date:7/3/2008

Natural products are highly valued by consumers yet their properties have been difficult to reproduce fully in synthetic materials, placing a drain on our limited natural resources. Until now ...

Scientists at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) are working towards producing the world's first model that will predict how we perceive naturalness. The results could help make synthetic products so good that they are interpreted by our senses as being fully equivalent to the 'real thing', but with the benefits of reduced environmental impact and increased durability.

NPL began undertaking a real-time experiment at the Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition. The public were invited to touch and feel 20 wood and wood effect samples and vote on whether they are real or not. The exhibition will now be toured around the UK during the next year to collect a census of data from across the country. This will then be used to help build the first predictive model of how we judge naturalness.

As well as the real-time experiment the travelling exhibition will include a range of interactive exhibits that explore the perceptual process. The first of these will show how we can use body parts to measure an object, as the ancient Egyptians did with the cubit, a standard measure related to the Pharaoh's arm length. There are visual, tactile and auditory experiments designed to demonstrate the limitations of the senses as measurement devices, by exposing how perceptions can be fooled by illusions. Videos will highlight the how the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) brain scans is helping us understand the perceptual process, by allowing researchers to discover which areas of the brain are stimulated when people carry out specific tasks, such as using their vision and touch senses to explore natural and non natural wood samples.

The exhibit is part of a much larger EU-funded project undertaken by a unique set of multidisciplinary of researchers called the Measurement of Naturalness (MONAT). This is one of a series of EU projects trying to 'Measure the Impossible', other projects are investigating subjects as diverse as eyewitness memory, emotional response to computer games, measuring body language and understanding how music induced emotions are processed in the brain.

The MONAT team will work over three years to examine how the perceived naturalness of materials is influenced by their physical properties. It includes:

  • Neuroscientists who scan the brain activity of individuals as they examine different materials
  • Psychologists who measure the way people perceive different materials when they use their hands or eyes, or both
  • NPL's experts in metrology, data analysis and software modeling, who contribute expertise in making accurate physical measurements of the properties of different materials and will build the model of perceived naturalness.

The physical characteristics of a surface, such as its colour, texture and surface roughness, are being linked to what is happening in a person's brain when they see or touch the surface. Once this is understood it should be possible to accurately predict what we will perceive as natural, and manufacturers will be able to design synthetic products to meet this expectation. The results could have a great impact on materials such as wood, animal skin and furs, marble and stone, plants and even prosthetics.

Ruth Montgomery of the National Physical Laboratory, said: "Our senses combine to identify natural materials. But what are the key factors, is it colour, gloss, smoothness, temperature? This is what our research is trying to establish. The focus of the research is wood, fabric and stone, but once the data is combined the aim is to produce a predictive computer model that will work for other materials. If successful the range of applications would be huge. For instance, synthetic mahogany furniture that is indistinguishable from the natural material, but won't rot or be attacked by woodworm or artificial grass so good that they use it on Wimbledon's Centre Court."


'/>"/>

Contact: Joe Meaney
joe@proofcommunicationl.com
084-568-01864
National Physical Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scientists reveal the key mechanisms for affinity between transient binding proteins
2. Tree-killing fungus officially named by scientists
3. Food scientists confirm commercial product effectively kills bacteria in vegetable washwater
4. Scientists may have solved an ecological riddle
5. Indiana U scientists uncover potential key to better drugs to fight toxoplasmosis parasite
6. New bee checklist lets scientists link important information about all bee species
7. Scientists discover DNA knot keeps viral genes tightly corked inside shell
8. Scientists find potential protein biomarkers for growth hormone
9. Scientists confirm that parts of earliest genetic material may have come from the stars
10. Scientists find 245 million-year-old burrows of land vertebrates in Antarctica
11. Brain stem cells can be awakened, say Schepens scientists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/14/2016)... Nov. 14, 2016  xG Technology, Inc. ("xG" or ... critical wireless communications for use in challenging operating environments, ... 30, 2016. Management will hold a conference call to ... p.m. Eastern Time (details below). Key Recent ... $16 million binding agreement to acquire Vislink Communication Systems. ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued ... the Biometric Exit Program. The Request for Information (RFI), ... that CBP intends to add biometrics to confirm when ... , in order to deter visa overstays, to ... Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160622/382209LOGO ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance control software, allowing ... are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of doors. ... ... ... Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160609/377487 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... BEI Kimco, ... Actuator with a flexure design that ensures high alignment accuracy by preventing unwanted ... is ideally suited where extreme precision is required, such as in medical equipment, ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Nov. 30, 2016 Biotest Pharmaceuticals Corporation (BPC), ... to announce the addition of its newest plasma collection ... Nebraska . The 15,200 square foot state-of-the-art facility ... 2016 and brings the total number of BPC,s plasma ... Carlisle , BPC,s Chief Executive Officer said "We are ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... and BEIJING , Nov. ... leading commercial provider of genomic services and solutions with ... today that it has completed a USD $75 Million ... Bank Co., Ltd.,s CMB International Capital Management ( ... Investment Management Co., Ltd. ("SDIC Innovation") and Shanghai Sigma ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... ... SSCI, the established leader in small-molecule cocrystal technology and development, will again ... pharmaceutical cocrystals as drug substance . The Lunch and Learn will take ... the successful November 15th event that took place in Burlingame, CA. Eyal H. Barash, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: