Perception, Movement, Action Banner University of Edinburgh




Short Guide to the Tau-based Vehicle Guidance System Patent
Inventors: Michael Jump, Gareth Padfield, David Lee

Patent Abstract: A vehicle guidance system comprising a measurement system and a processor arranged to receive information from the measurement system. The processor converts the information into one or more time-to-contact based parameters, which the control system uses either to automatically guide the vehicle or to provide vehicle guidance information to a pilot/operator. (Download PDF)




“Whoop” sounds to help people with movement disorders improve their movement control
David N Lee

Our aim is to help people with movement disorders (associated, e.g., with Alzheimer’s Disease, Ataxia, Bodily Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Parkinson’s Disease or Stroke) improve their movement control.


We have found that the whoop sounds can be effective in helping movement control in people with Ataxia, MS or Parkinson’s Disease. We are currently setting up to test whether the whoops can help movement control in Alzheimer’s Disease, Cerebral Palsy, Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Infants, Motor Neurone Disease and Stroke.


We can supply to patients and therapists movement-guiding whoop sounds of different durations and instructions on how to use them via this website. If you are interested in using this therapy, please contact Professor David Lee.



Recent working papers, presentations and essays on the theme of the Consortium:


How movement is guided
David N Lee (2011)

Abstract: The development of a theory of prospective guidance of movement - general tau theory - is described. The theory deals with the purposive guidance of bodily movements, including internal movements, by means of the patterns of flow in sensory arrays and the patterns of flow of electrical energy within the nervous system. The central idea is that movement is guided by tau-coupling action-gaps. All purposive movement of the body, and within the body, requires guided closure of action-gaps. An action-gap, generally defined, is the changing gap between a current state and a goal state. Examples are the distance action-gap between the hand and an object when reaching, the optical action-gap between the images of the hand and object in the optic flow-field, the suction action-gap when a baby is drawing in milk, the pitch action-gap when a singer is sliding between notes. Tau of an action-gap is the first-order time-to-closure of the action-gap, i.e., the current size of the action-gap divided by its current rate of closure. Tau-coupling means keeping the taus of two action-gaps in constant ratio during a movement. Theoretical analyses and experiments are summarized that offer explanations, through the tau-coupling of action-gaps, of how the taus of action-gaps are sensed, how patterned electrical activity in the brain guides movement, how space is action-scaled, how actions are fitted into available spatio-temporal slots, how a driver controls braking and steering, how infants guide their movements, how athletes guide their movements, how musicians create expression by the way they guide their movements. Applications of the theory to the diagnosis and treatment of movement disorders are also discussed. (Download PDF)


Longitudinal Development of Looming: How optical variables may become information
Ruud van der Weel & Audrey van der Meer (2009)
Dept. of Psychology, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway

Abstract: A fundamental property of most animals is the ability to see whether an object is approaching on a direct collision course and, if so, when it will collide. Using high-density electroencephalography in 5- to 11-month-old infants and a looming stimulus approaching under three different accelerations, we investigated how the young human nervous system extracts and processes information for impending collision. Here, we show that infants’ looming related brain activity is characterised by theta oscillations. Source analyses reveal clear localised activity in the visual cortex. Analysing the temporal dynamics of the source waveform, we provide evidence that the temporal structure of different looming stimuli is sustained during processing in the more mature infant brain, providing infants with increasingly veridical time-to-collision information about looming danger as they grow older and become more mobile. (Download PDF)