The year 2001 ended with the media’s interest was centered upon Ginger, a.k.a. “IT” – a secret invention by the genius as well as eccentric creator Dean Kamen had been working for more than 10 years. According to some reports, it could be even more significant as the PC!
The first thing to be revealed in December came the Segway self-balancing “human transporter”. It makes use of tilt sensors, gyroscopes and motors with high-performance – as well as massive amounts of computing power to create a scooter-like device which allows you to move across nearly any terrain, without falling off.
According to Kamen says, “The idea is to put a human being into a system where the machine acts as an extension of your body. When you walk, you’re really in what’s called a controlled fall. You off-balance yourself, putting one foot in front of the other and falling onto them over and over again. When you use a Segway, there’s a gyroscope that acts like your inner ear, a computer that acts like your brain, motors that act like your muscles, wheels that act like your feet.”
Segway is a fantastic illustration of our ability to stand and move around in a straight posture. The design of the Segway is stunning however, it’s more remarkable is the shape of our bodies that allow us to move about with no fear of falling. In the end, we’re very thin, tall creatures with a very high center of gravity that rests on two feet that are quite small.
Why can’t we continue falling over? How do we stay upright?
A significant element of the solution is the way in which our head sits on the top of our spines, and a clever structure that ensures stability. Our heads can’t readily separate to our body! Also, for flexibility, our heads are able to move swiftly and easily to respond to the changing conditions.
According to Joan Arnold, a teacher of the Alexander Technique in New York City writes: “… when the neck muscles are not stressed the head is balanced at the top of the spine. The connection between head and spine is vital. The way we handle the relationship can affect the the body. Since the bosswhether good or badestablishes the tone of an organisation The head-spine relationship — whether compressed or uncompressed — affects the overall quality of our general coordination of the body.
“Our neuromuscular system is designed to work in concert with gravity. Delicate poise of the head sparks the body’s anti-gravity response: a natural oppositional force in the torso that easily guides us upward and invites the spine to lengthen, rather than compress, as we move. Instead of slouching or holding ourselves in a rigid posture, we can learn to mobilize this support system and use it wherever we go — in the car, at the computer, in the gym.”
This beautiful design can be effective only if the muscles of our necks aren’t strained or have tension. As we progress through our lives we all have strain in the neck region, as well as other areas of our bodies that affect our upright posture as well as our ability to utilize our body the way it was intended.
You’ll be able to observe this yourself when you look at almost any group of people running or jogging and compare their actions to the children playing play. The majority of the time adults will be tightening up their shoulders, arms, and, of course, their necks. Children are usually playing effortlessly and with grace.
The naive posture and motion habits that we learn as we age are a result of many reasons: the subconscious imitators of adults living their lives, who have a lot of tension, poor school furniture or family circumstances, to name only the most common.
A vehicle such as the Segway does not have to deal with such issues. If something occurs that alters its operation – possibly the motor or computer fails is quickly corrected by the repair process or by replacing.
We find it more difficult. It’s not easy to take a trip to the store and purchase an entirely new neck when the neck is getting too tight. However, we can utilize our knowledge to evaluate the situation and determine how to get rid of the problematic habits of movement and posture that have resurfaced in our lives.
There are numerous methods of somatic therapy and teaching which can assist us in restoring the ease and grace of movement we enjoyed when we were children. One that I am particularly familiar is Alexander Technique. Since its inception over a century ago, it has been taught to thousands of people the technique has earned itself a reputation as a method to aid people in improving the performance of their bodies.