Hyperacuity on trails

Hyperacuity is our ability to discern very small angle differences and misaligned lines (see links below). Our vision doesn’t have to be good, and a vision test (visual acuity(sharpness)) doesn’t test this ability as the brain does a lot to amplify or help line things up or see misalignment.

Sometimes I question whether I spend too much time looking at a subtle curve, turn, board, or shape trying to imagine the travel path and feel before actually testing it…so I don’t have to realign or reshape. Of course given the laws that govern motion the path of travel is a straight line, Newton’s 1st law, inertia. Boring. Subtle turns are best at high speeds, and adding banks or inslopes, reversals, and acceleration drops to provide a helping force is a fine way to add exhilaration to experiences, or give people a break. Motion and acceleration does some fun things to the inner ear and brain, ultimately releasing endorphins…yeah…

I didn’t really think about “hyperacuity” much (or at all) until my dad wanted me to reboot the monogrammed golf balls I got him. He liked them so much I suppose he lost them all in water or out of bounds. It’s nice to know who’s ball is who’s when playing golf, but being that our last name is Mickelson to him it is an added humorous bonus when he loses one of those balls. He thinks it’s funny because if anyone finds the ball they might think it could have belonged to Phil Mickelson, a famous golfer (as far as we know we aren’t related, but we aren’t sure either…I mean ALL humans (and non humans) are related, duh, but how many branches or degrees back?). To make this more authentic my dad would have to use the same ball Phil plays, which during this post is a Callaway with 3 straight lines on it to help line up putts using hyperacuity…which I didn’t know existed until reading about it while getting these balls for my dad. Phil used to draw his own line on his golf balls with a sharpie, now they are printed on the ball.

Anyway…Having a nice clean hinge, backslope angle, and backslope/upslope interface can make things look nicer or cleaner, albeit a little more manufactured than organic, but nature usually does the rest to soften it naturally over time.

I have often marveled at how nearly everyone can see slopes or angles on trails, even if subtle, and how different people set stones or shape and add flow and curvature to tread, berms, and jumps. How they see it or imagine it is one thing, but being able to translate that forethought/vision into a dirt carving with curvature detection and translation as well as understanding the outcomes or reactions with users (especially high speed bicycles) is another. Like anything human some people are naturals and some have to work at it or are better at some things, not others. Having hyperfun for builder and user is what ultimately matters, that’s vision or clarity. Stay sharp y’all.


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