Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Engineers to Create Parts of Virtual Crash Test Dummy

Two teams of engineers with the University of Virginia's Center for Biomechanics will play major roles in the creation of a new "virtual" crash test dummy, one that will live entirely within computers, but will be more realistic than any physical dummy ever subjected to a crash test.

You really can learn a lot from a dummy.

For decades, automakers have been crashing test dummies to gain insight to how various auto safety systems protect – or fail to protect – people during car accidents. But those dummies are made of plastic and steel, not tissue and bone. They can teach only so much.

A new generation of dummies will tell a lot more. An international group of automakers and suppliers has formed a Global Human Body Models Consortium to fund the best minds to build a better dummy.

Two teams of engineers with the University of Virginia's Center for Biomechanics will play major roles in the creation of this new "virtual" dummy, one that will live entirely within computers, but will be more realistic than any physical dummy ever subjected to a crash test.

These will be highly detailed computer dummies – computational models of a full human being – including extreme lifelike detail of the complexities and characteristics of flesh, bones, ligaments, blood vessels and organs.

"Already, cars and their safety systems are designed on computers," said Richard Kent, one of U.Va.'s team leaders on the project and a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. "It's logical that we would create a virtual crash test dummy that would allow us to test these safety systems before they are ever physically built."

Kent and his six-member team is charged with creating a highly detailed and realistic computer model of the human thorax and upper extremities, including the ribcage, muscles and ligaments, and the lungs and heart.

Jeff Crandall, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of U.Va.'s Center for Applied Biomechanics, is leading another team in the development of a virtual pelvis and lower extremities. The Global Human Body Models Consortium recently awarded the two teams $3 million to complete their projects within the next few years.

Teams of researchers at six other universities and institutes are creating models of other parts of the human body, including the head, neck and abdomen.

"Eventually all of these models will be joined together to create the most sophisticated and lifelike simulation of the entire human body ever assembled for safety testing," said Damien Subit, a U.Va. research scientist working on the model of the thorax.

He said the virtual human will be subjected to nearly infinite virtual crash scenarios to determine in graphic detail what happens to organs, bone and tissue when subjected to forces and impacts from a range of angles at different velocities. Researchers will be able to see, in effect, how a neck breaks in a crash, how a lung is punctured by a broken rib or a liver is bruised or a hip shattered.

"We are creating models, based on the actual anatomic details of the human body, that will respond to stress and strain and impact in the same way the actual human body does, so we can see precisely how injuries occur," Kent said. "The ultimate result will be cars with far better safety systems, minimizing the severity of injuries and the frequency of fatalities."

The advantages of a virtual dummy, compared to the typical physical crash test dummy, are huge. Currently, a typical crash test costs about $5,000 to $100,000. A virtual crash will cost nearly nothing – once the dummy is developed. And a regular physical dummy, with a life span of about 10 years, must be repaired after each crash. A virtual dummy will be, in a sense, immortal, and could be used repeatedly in a far wider range of crash scenarios.

Current physical dummies are built in only three height and weight models, representing an approximation of the many sizes of humans. The virtual dummy eventually will be configured in variable sizes and weights, representing the true range of human body types.

"This will be an adaptable, cost-saving system that will provide amazing insight to body injuries for improving auto safety," Kent said.

He added that the virtual dummy could be useful in other ways as well, such as for the design of safer sporting goods, and in medical schools for students studying trauma injuries.

Contacts: Richard Kent, U.Va. researcher
434-296-7288, ext. 133

Fariss Samarrai | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Automotive Engineering:

nachricht When your car knows how you feel
20.12.2017 | FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

nachricht Did you know how many parts of your car require infrared heat?
23.10.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

All articles from Automotive Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>