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During my undergraduate years, I studied walking patterns as a research assistant in the VENLab at Brown University. I focused on two things: the energetic efficiency and dynamical stability of human walking.

Fun fact: we measure stability by tripping people on a treadmill with a self-made tripping device.

I studied this through testing participants, building data analysis pipelines, and making experimental environments. My senior thesis presented my findings on the relationship between energetic efficiency and dynamical stability at a person's preferred walking speed, assuming a nonlinear dynamical system.

For the summer of 2016, I was awarded a Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award to develop an experimental environment in virtual reality. The participant walks on a treadmill with the VR headset on and views a hallway with varying optic flow speeds. I hypothesized that more disparity between optic flow speed and walking speed would lead to observations of decreased stability. Everything was created in Unity.

Tools and languages used include: Unity

What I learned: Programming in C# and designing an participant experience from the ground up

See the experimental environment here

VENLab Website

other projects

Stranger Things



© 2016 - Mandi Cai. With help from Rick Waalders