US engineers to create parts of virtual crash test dummy

December 12th, 2008 - 4:59 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 12 (ANI): Engineers at U.Va.’’s Center for Biomechanics are creating a new “virtual” dummy, which will live entirely within computers and will be more realistic than any physical dummy ever subjected to a crash test.

For decades, automobile manufacturers have been crashing test dummies to gain insight to how various auto safety systems protect or fail to protect people during car accidents.

However, those dummies are made of plastic and steel, not tissue and bone. They can teach only so much.

Now, an international group of automakers and suppliers has formed a Global Human Body Models Consortium to fund the best minds to build a better generation of dummies.

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. 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,” said Richard Kent, one of U.Va.’’s team leaders on the project and a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

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.

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.

Damien Subit, a U.Va. research scientist working on the model of the thorax, said: “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. (ANI)

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