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What’s Faster Than the Blink of an Eye?

In the realm of speed, some phenomena eclipse the blink of an eye, like a camera's flash or a hummingbird's wingbeat. These instances of rapid motion reveal a world of wonder that operates on a timescale beyond our immediate perception. Imagine what secrets of speed await your discovery in the full article. What swift marvels might you uncover?

What's the fastest thing you can do? It's a snap. While blinking might be so fast you don't even notice it, snapping your fingers is actually much, much quicker. "The finger snap occurs in only seven milliseconds — more than 20 times faster than the blink of an eye, which takes more than 150 milliseconds," said Saad Bhamla, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Georgia Tech.

Bhamla was part of a research team that used sensors and cameras to measure the speed of finger snapping, which turned out to be the human body's fastest acceleration ever measured. For comparison, a pro baseball player's fastest throw is three times slower. "When I first saw the data, I jumped out of my chair," Bhamla said.

Just so you know, when you snap your fingers, the sound comes from your middle finger hitting your palm, not your two fingers coming together and moving apart quickly.

Finger facts:

  • Men typically have longer ring fingers than index fingers, while women tend to have longer index fingers than ring fingers.

  • Fingers do not contain any muscles related to motion; they are able to move thanks to muscles in the palm and forearm.

  • Wearing a ring on the finger next to your pinkie comes from an ancient belief that that finger has a vein connected directly to the heart.

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Discussion Comments

dimchild

As interesting as this finding might be, even more interesting is the information that the sound is not produced by the fingers but by the palm. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Scientists found that snapping your fingers is the human body’s fastest acceleration; it’s 20 times faster than blinking.
      Scientists found that snapping your fingers is the human body’s fastest acceleration; it’s 20 times faster than blinking.