Flexibility in Physical Learning

Most research on physical learning has focused on the biomechanics of basic actions, or improvements in movement proficiency (consistency, efficiency, speed, etc.). 

 

However, flexibility is what makes skills truly functional. Flexibility is the ability to tailor motor actions to changing body-environment relations. Even highly practiced actions such as walking or throwing must be continually modified to suit changes in local conditions.

Flexibility is the creative, generative, improvisational aspect of skill that allows
appropriate movements to be selected, discovered, or constructed to suit the task at hand

In this project, we use virtual reality to examine flexibility in physical learning by testing adults and children in a new task (throwing a ball into a basket) under different environmental conditions (variety of virtual planets with different gravities). Using computer vision, we identify different strategies by which the participants change their actions to adapt to the new gravity.