Eye-Catching Dynamics

 

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We and everything around us are in perpetual motion. It is so natural and mundane that we hardly take notice.However, the beauty of natural dynamics is its simplicity and complexity at the same time. Take for example the way we walk. For us it’s the most simple and natural thing to do. But think about the processes, coordination and timing between various organs . The eyes scan the surroundings, sending the data to the brain which in turn processes it and sends perfectly timed commands to the respective muscles in the legs and hands to execute that motion. Big deal?! Try writing a piece of code for a robot to walk the same way as we do and the perspective immediately becomes clear.

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It is no secret that the whole universe is a perfectly orchestrated symphony. The formation of the stars, galaxies, the movement of the suns and the associated planets and their moons, even the comets and asteroids exhibit an elegant and perfectly executed motion. Any motion that is a result of perfectly coordinated actions and perfectly balanced forces is graceful and a treat to the eyes. Just imagine if you were to be positioned at such a distance in space from where you could clearly see our solar system and the movement of the planets around the sun. You would see the planets gently revolving around the sun in a beautiful elliptical orbit all perfectly balanced by the sun’s gravity.

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You don’t need to be an astronaut or a cosmonaut to appreciate the dynamics. Just look at the eagle soaring in the sky with it wings spread out. It catches a thermal and effortlessly glides up without flapping a wing. The lift generated by its wings nicely balances out the gravity, just sufficient to lift and hold it aloft thousands of feet above the ground.

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Similarly, observe a fish in an aquarium tank or a dolphin or a whale moving in water. Gravity, buoyancy and the forces generated by its fins flawlessly conspire  to produce literally a “fluid motion”.

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Back on the ground, in the wild, a Cheetah’s sprint after a zig-zag moving prey mesmerizes everyone. The laser focus, powerful strides, that humongous burst of energy and last but not the least, that deft movement of the tail to fine tune its balance while changing directions is just out of this world.

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The spectacle of speed, power, timing and balance is a given in the sporting world. A tennis player tosses the ball up at the right height, adjusts his weight, his muscles contract accumulating power and finally letting it all out at the right time hitting the ball, in the right direction to produce that ace, all in a seamless awe inspiring motion.

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Again, it is needless to say that the the dynamics of such motion are so eye catching due to the perfect orchestration of the forces involved, the timing and the raw power.The machine world too is known to display some mind numbing visuals of dynamics. The most natural example would be the helicopter. The principle of flight is more complex for a chopper than a good old airplane. The main rotor blades not only create lift but also thrust. However, the rotation of the rotor blades generates what is known as “anti torque” which makes the fuselage spin in the opposite direction. The forces of anti torque are balanced out by the tail rotor which pushes the tail in the direction opposite to that of the anti torque. Without going into too much technicals, just savour the sight of a flying helicopter.

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However, the most flamboyant display of dynamics is demonstrated by rockets and modern missiles. The supersonic Brahmos missile, seconds after its launch  fires a couple of rockets to change direction in mid air, throws off parts of its canister and fires the main rocket to accelerate it to insane Mach 3 speed. Watch the sequence of events as they unfold. Dynamics don’t get better than this!

 

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