Life is a constant balancing act, especially if you're a tightrope walker. The best athletes make treading a circus high wire or a low-hanging slackline look effortless, but they're actually juggling complex challenges of perception and motor control.
Now researchers have constructed a mathematical explanation of how such nimble acrobats remain upright. Their calculations point to a theoretical 'sweet spot,' or optimal conditions for a person to balance on a line with minimal effort. Such a model may help scientists better understand how the brain and body work together to pull off difficult tasks.