Because human bodies change as we age, the injuries suffered in vehicle crashes by children and seniors differ in important ways from the average adult male or female. Existing computer models of the human body used to study how vehicle occupants move and interact with a vehicle in a simulated crash event do not adequately account for or model these different body types.
Developing additional computer models, called Finite Element (FE) models, which accurately capture the size, body structure, and material properties of children and seniors, would help researchers to develop future vehicle safety technologies that can better protect the safety of these vulnerable populations.
Toyota’s CSRC and Wayne State University School of Medicine have partnered to expand the available FE tools in order to empower engineers to design vehicle safety systems that take into account differences in body characteristics, in effort to reduce the injuries of all occupants, regardless of age.
The project will create new FE models representing the body structures of a 10-year-old child and a 65 to 75-year-old female.
Skeletal, organ and other body characteristics for the two populations will be collected by conducting whole-body scans of people at the respective age criteria. The 10-year-old geometry is available from a NHTSA-sponsored project with Wayne State where data from multiple subjects was used to create a composite scan. For the elderly female, an average-sized volunteer will be scanned to capture in detail the body structure.
From these scans, Wayne State will create virtual 3-D geometry of the child and senior female, which will be converted to complex mathematical models to be used by engineers through computer simulation software to identify occupant kinematics and loads sustained during impact events. Age specific material properties of biological tissues (i.e. bone and organs) will also be added to this data to increase the accuracy of the simulated occupant, and help relate the measured forces to injury probability.
To confirm that the models are representative of actual human beings, simulation results will be validated against tests already performed on human cadavers.
The project will take approximately 4.5 years to complete. The first year will include collecting scanned body data for an elderly female subject and the creation of virtual geometry and FE data for a 10-year-old child, including material properties. The second year will validate the components of the child, and create the virtual geometry of the female. The child model will be completed in Year three the FE mesh data development of the female including the material properties will be developed. The remaining time will validate the components of the female model.