Navigation Links
How does an outfielder know where to run for a fly ball?

Rockville, MD While baseball fans still rank "The Catch" by Willie Mays in the 1954 World Series as one of the greatest baseball moments of all times, scientists see the feat as more of a puzzle: How does an outfielder get to the right place at the right time to catch a fly ball?

Thousands of fans (and hundreds of thousands of YouTube viewers) saw Mays turn his back on a fly ball, race to the center field fence and catch the ball over his shoulder, seemingly a precise prediction of a fly ball's path that led his team to victory. According to a recent article in the Journal of Vision ("Catching Flyballs in Virtual Reality: A Critical Test of the Outfielder Problem"), the "outfielder problem" represents the definitive question of visual-motor control. How does the brain use visual information to guide action?

To test three theories that might explain an outfielder's ability to catch a fly ball, researcher Philip Fink, PhD, from Massey University in New Zealand and Patrick Foo, PhD, from the University of North Carolina at Ashville programmed Brown University's virtual reality lab, the VENLab, to produce realistic balls and simulate catches. The team then lobbed virtual fly balls to a dozen experienced ball players.

"The three existing theories all predict the same thing: successful catches with very similar behavior," said Brown researcher William Warren, PhD. "We realized that we could pull them apart by using virtual reality to create physically impossible fly ball trajectories."

Warren said their results support the idea that the ball players do not necessarily predict a ball's landing point based on the first part of its flight, a theory described as trajectory prediction. "Rather than predicting the landing point, the fielder might continuously track the visual motion of the ball, letting it lead him to the right place at the right time," Warren said.

Because the researchers were able to use the virtual reality lab to perturb the balls' vertical motion in ways that would not happen in reality, they were able to isolate different characteristics of each theory. The subjects tended to adjust their forward-backward movements depending on the perceived elevation angle of the incoming ball, and separately move from side to side to keep the ball at a constant bearing, consistent with the theory of optical acceleration cancellation (OAC). The third theory, linear optical trajectory (LOT), predicted that the outfielder will run in a direction that makes the visual image of the ball appear to travel in a straight line, adjusting both forward-backward and side-to-side movements together.

Fink said these results focus on the visual information a ball player receives, and that future studies could bring in other variables, such as the effect of the batter's movements or sound.

"As a first step we chose to concentrate on what seemed likely to be the most important factor," Fink said. "Fielders might also use information such as the batter's swing or the sound of the bat hitting the ball to help guide their movements."


Contact: Jessie Williams
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

Related medicine news :

1. It's January...Do You Know Where Your Thyroid Is? Thyroid Awareness Month Focuses on Millions of Undiagnosed Americans with Thyroid Problems
2. New Study Says Doctors' Offices -- Not the DMV -- Should Be Where Americans Decide to Become Organ Donors
3. Duda, whered my spines go?
4. Children & Health Reform: Where We Stand
5. The importance of attractiveness depends on where you live
6. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and Fairview Health Services Launch Online Care Anywhere(TM)
7. ShowMyPC Provides First Online Service in the World to Access Personal Computers from Anywhere Using Microsoft Remote Desktop
8. Physicians Heal Bridge to Nowhere; Iraqi Girl With Rare Neuromuscular Disorder Has New Hope
9. Where You Put on Pounds May Influence Clot Risk
10. Skin cells may provide early warning for cancer risk elsewhere in body
11. How should mental, neurological and substance use disorders be treated where resources are scarce?
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... only four states in the U.S. require dental technicians to be certified or ... dental industry, NADL created the “What’s In Your Mouth?” campaign to inform dentists ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... MOSI recently added two ... along with Back to the Jurassic to their collection of interactive exhibits within the ... dynamic worlds that will allow guests to get closer than ever to a range ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 2015 , ... In an effort to provide local families ... Christian Church of Flint, MI, hosted a family-oriented evening themed on “Candy Land”, ... candy dubbed “Candy Mountain”. , A Forever Recovery, a holistic treatment center for ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... The presidential race normally deals with political issues ... it a national news story when Donald Trump makes disparaging remarks about Hillary Clinton’s ... more than anyone wants to admit when it comes to how people are viewed ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Rick Sommer, president of Intellitec ... Management of Information Systems course. Based in Wilmington Delaware, Intellitec Solutions is an ... before student in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems class. The course focuses ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... décembre 2015 MEDTEC Japon ... conférence d,Asie portant sur la conception ... manufacturière, se tiendra à ... 22 avril 2016. ... Photo - Logo ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... -- Nevro Corp. (NYSE: NVRO ), a global medical ... treatment of chronic pain, today announced that the Patent Trial ... Office (USPTO) has denied instituting an inter partes ... --> --> On ... two petitions challenging the validity of certain claims of the ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015 Next week, December 2-3, BIOMEDevice ... ) co-located events covering the latest in Medtech innovation, ... will draw more than 3,000 design industry professionals to ... The events, combined show floor will host more than ... --> --> BIOMEDevice features suppliers ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: