The Friday Fillip

walker.jpgThis fine specimen you see to your left is a walker who comes straight from the Queen’s University Bio Motion Lab, which is doing research into what we learn (or think we learn) from a person’s carriage. (I’ve oversimplified. Surprise.) All of which is only sort of interesting of a Friday.

Except that you get to be part of the grand experiment. The lab has constructed a walking person who consists either of dots and lines (like our friend here) or simply of dots. On an animation page, you get to run sliders back and forth to change the wiggle in the walk, so to speak, such that a person becomes heavier or lighter, more male or more female, happier or sadder, more anxious or more relaxed. You’ll see Dot respond to your commands.

When playing mini-god in this way becomes boring, it’s time to give a little back to Darwin. The lab would like you to help them with their research by going to a start page where you’ll give them some information and from where you’ll be sent to another animation page. But here you have to rate what you see along your chosen axis. When you’re done, you’ll be shown a slider that will let you control Dot once again but in ways now modified for your input. (If you’ve got a popup-blocker on, turn it off for this part, because the results make use of a popup window and you’ll miss out, as I did, otherwise.)

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