A Pentagon research team is studying the body movements of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders in order to better predict their actions and guide U.S. policy. The “Body Leads” project, backed by the Office of Net Assessment (ONA) – the think tank reporting to current Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, uses the principles of movement pattern analysis to predict how leaders will act. Brenda Connors, director of “Body Leads”, prepared a report called “Movement, The Brain and Decision-making, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.”
Connors compiled Russian television footage which shows, among several instances, Putin’s irregular gait at his first inauguration in 2000. As he strode down the long red carpet at the Great Kremlin Palace, Putin’s left arm and leg were moving in an easy, natural rhythm. But his right arm, bent at the elbow, moved in a stiff way, as if jerked by the shoulder, and the right leg dragged, without absorbing his full weight. All the momentum and energy in Putin’s gait came from the left side; it is as if the right side was just along for the ride. Even the right side of his torso seems frozen. When he is holding a pen, his right hand appears to have only an awkward, tenuous grasp on it.
Connors has shown footage of Putin’s walk to a range of experts. Continue to the link to read their impressions.
Experts have confirmed two wooden toes as the world’s oldest prosthetics. Discovered in the necropolis of Thebe near present-day Luxor, the so-called Greville Chester toe is from before 600 B.C. It is in the shape of the right big toe and a portion of the right foot. The other, dated between 950 and 710 B.C., was found attached to the right toe of a mummy identified as Tabaketenmut. She was a priest’s daughter who might have lost her toe following gangrene triggered by diabetes.
Both fake toes show significant signs of wear. Moreover, they feature holes for lacings to either attach the toes onto the foot or fasten it onto a sock or sandal.
Researchers created reproductions of the Greville toe and the Tabaketenmut digit, along with replicas of leather ancient Egyptian-style sandals. Two volunteers, both of whom are missing their right big toe, participated in a gait analysis and other tests that were reported in the Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics. For more detail, follow this link:
Pedo-Biometrics Lab (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh) is working on high-tech shoe insoles designed to monitor access to high-security areas such as military bases or nuclear power plants. The concept for these insoles builds on extensive research that shows individuals have unique feet and ways of walking.
Sensors in the biometric soles check the pressure of feet and monitor gait. Its microcomputer compares these patterns with a master file for that person. By the third step, it can determine the match or not. If not, a wireless alarm triggers a message. The sensor also detects when someone is wearing another person’s shoes.
Scientists have known for centuries that each person has a unique way of walking. The U.S. Department of Defense and the Chinese government pour millions into funding gait research. The Institute of Intelligent Machines is also doing extensive research into gait biometrics. There are even reports of floors designed to monitor footsteps without people being aware of it.
For more details, including how biometric soles may be used for medical diagnostics, check this link:
Dr. Jacquelin Perry was a physician and researcher who shed light on the complexities of walking. She was a leader in treating polio victims in the 1950s and again in the ’80s when the symptoms of some returned, Dr. Perry died at age 94 on March 11, 2013 in Downey, California. Her death was announced by the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, where she worked for more than 60 years.
Dr. Perry earned wide attention for her work in analyzing the human gait, which she broke down into eight motion patterns governed by 28 major muscles in each leg. Her 1992 book, “Gait Analysis: Normal and Pathological Function,” became a standard text for orthopedists, physical therapists and other rehabilitation professionals.
Her clinical observations and descriptions of “loading response” were clear and had implications for many biomechanists. To break walking, running, stair-climbing and other human ambulations into discrete components, illustrated with precise photographs, Dr. Perry used ultrasound studies, motion analysis and electromyography, which traces the nerve pathways through muscle using electric charges.
Dr. Perry was an active surgeon until a brain artery blockage forced her to stop operating. She then devoted much of her time to studying the biomechanics of walking. As part of her research, she investigated how muscles and joints behave when spinal-cord injury patients propel themselves in wheelchairs, and how below-the-knee amputees are able to walk with prosthetic feet.