Computer based human body models have the potential to help us understand how certain injuries occur as a result of a crash and may also be used in the virtual testing of automotive safety systems. Physical anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs or crash dummies) were developed as a stand-in for live humans in crash tests. Physical ATDs have enabled significant advances in automotive safety, but they were designed and calibrated based primarily on the testing of cadavers and hence are not completely biofidelic to the live human subjects they are meant to represent. Virtual ATDs or human body models have the potential to possess far more biofidelity.

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We cannot use live individuals as subjects in staged crash tests. However, individuals who have been involved in real-life motor vehicle collisions have, in essence, subjected themselves to a crash test. Today, three-dimensional medical imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are utilized in the standard medical evaluation of crash victims. Over the past several decades, huge advances have been made in medical imaging technology that allows us to capture anatomic information in staggering detail. These imaging scans allows us to see not only specific injuries throughout the body but also the physical and anatomic relationship between the sites of loading and the internal injuries that resulted. Furthermore, the scans provide invaluable data on the baseline characteristics of that individual before the crash, allowing us to determine if there is a potential causal relationship between these characteristics and any observed injuries.

In the International Center for Automotive Medicine, we see tremendous potential for human body models to improve injury assessment fidelity for motor vehicle crashes occurring in the real world. For automotive engineers and safety researchers, human body models expand the collision conditions and occupant configurations that can be studied beyond those possible with physical ATDs. In order to support the development of human body models, we have collected thousands of CT scans from crash and non-crash subjects which can be used to construct more detailed and anatomically correct human body models of any desired stature, age and gender. We are analyzing CT scans from crash subjects to determine how differences in body geometry and composition affect tolerance to injury in real-life crashes so as to guide the future development of human body models. We also collect and document real-life crash cases in unmatched detail to enable their future use in the validation of these virtual models.

In addition to performing sponsored research projects, ICAM offers an array of services that support other organizations in their own research and development of human body models. For more information, contact us at 734.615.3488.