Technology: Test Track

Over the years, crash test dummies have been getting smarter. “The newest dummies can have over 130 channels of information,” says Chris O’ Connor, CEO of Humanetics, the world’s leading producer of dummies. “So the amount of data is up four or five times what it could years ago.” The evolution of crash test dummies may soon be extended to their size; obese people are 78% more likely to die in a crash, so if dummies can be representative of an obese person, they can help prevent fatalities in the future. One prototype has already been created, with a weight of 273 pounds and a Body Mass Index of 35. “The idea of these new dummies that they start to measure new types of load, (such as) shoulder loads, they interact with restraints better,” says Dr. Joel Stitzel, director of the Center for Injury Biomechanics. “They have more measurement capabilities, so they can do a better job of predicting injury.”  The downside? The dummies can cost upwards of $500,000.

 Contributor: Phoebe Roe


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