in the Zone

QUICK OFF THE MARK!

Lightning reactions are the name of the game!

Our gameshow puts your reactions to the test in a quick-fire buzzer round. Will you be Quick off the Mark?

Your brain must constantly monitor information from your senses about the world around you and then decide on the appropriate response.

This information travels around your body via a network of nerves or neurons. The messages are carried as electrical impulses and can travel at speeds of up to 100m per second!

Your reaction time is the total time it takes for your brain to receive an impulse from a sense organ, process the message, decide on a course of action and then implement its plan via a command to your muscles.

Our gameshow uses three rounds to see if practice really does make perfect. Reaction times are affected by many different factors – caffeine, practice, age. Take a look at our short film to see more on reaction time for one very unique activity.

Reaction times in humans vary for the different senses. In general reactions to auditory stimuli are fastest, then visual and finally tactile. So you’ll hear it before your see it and feel it!

 

How fast is too fast?

We examine the science behind the rules.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) defines a false start as anything less than 0.1secs. This is based on the length of time it takes for a human brain to respond to the sound of the gun.

The gun fires, the sound waves must travel across the air and reach the inner ear. There, the vibrations shake tiny hair cells that are connected to sensory neurons.

The sensory neurons send an electrical impulse to the brain for processing. The brain must then decide on the response, in this case…RUN!

The brain sends electrical impulses down motor neurons to the muscles involved to command their action.

And all that happens in around 0.16 seconds in most normal people!

Usain Bolt managed to react in 0.146 seconds when he set the current 100m metre world record.