A walk and a smile

In the second chapter of Born to Walk, which focuses on how walking can address mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety, research conducted by University of Glasgow epidemiologist Richard Mitchell provides the scientific basis for many of my arguments. I spent some time walking around Glasgow with Rich, whose work explores the roles urban environments can…

DIY treadmill desk

Carleton University cognitive science professor Jim Davies, director of the Science of Imagination Laboratory and the author of Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe, had never used a treadmill desk before he built one about two years ago. “I decided I wanted one,” he says, “and just made it.” Davies,…

Born to Walk: advance copies!

Advance copies of my book have landed. The publishing date is April 1, 2015. (It should be called “Born to Wait,” one friend said.) Here’s what my publisher, ECW Press, has to say: “The humble act of putting one foot in front of the other transcends age, geography, culture, and class, and is one of…

Walking with robots

Last week, I went to Carleton University’s Human Computer Interaction building to interview Richard Beranek, the CEO and co-founder of Ottawa-based rehabilitation robotics company GaitTronics, a two-year-old spin-off from the university’s Advanced Biomechatronics and Locomotion Laboratory. With industrial design support from local consultancy The Federal, Beranek and his colleagues have created SoloWalk, which is essentially a robot that can…

Walking in a (simulated) winter environment

I just wrapped up two fascinating days of research at the Challenging Environment Assessment Laboratory (aka CEAL), part of Toronto Rehab’s iDAPT Centre. The lab, a world leader in rehabilitation research, is home to dozens of projects aimed at making our streets, homes and workplaces safer. One of its goals is help prevent injuries before they…