No, this entry is not a critique of Ciara’s song “One, Two Step,” but rather is a homage to myself and others who more commonly trip ascending vs. descending steps. I’m certain my cousin would have benefited from this current study years ago when she fell walking up the escalator of Macy’s, cut her knee, had stitches, and now has a scar as proof. Enough of the suspense.
This week in PLOS One, a group of researchers from the United Kingdom have discovered a mechanism to mediate the perception of step height and depth. As illustrated in the picture below, simply using vertical rather than horizontal grading on steps increases step height and depth several fold. Perhaps, engineers of escalators discovered this fact years prior, but were too skeptic to believe it really was an important scientific discovery (yes, escalators already have vertical grading). Obviously, we now know that my cousin would not have benefited from this current study, but I do imagine this research will benefit elderly individuals with fragile bones and impaired vision.