Refined virtual human models complement crash test dummies: Page 2 of 2

May 10, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Refined virtual human models complement crash test dummies
To improve the safety of vehicle occupants, crash tests with dummies have been carried out for decades. Increasingly, such tests are being supplemented by simulations. In crash simulations, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics (EMI) use virtual models of people that allow realistic conclusions to be drawn about the risk of injury. In their calculations, they focus on muscle stiffness, which has been rarely taken into account in previous investigations.

Human models can also be used to protect pedestrians and cyclists. Current studies show that there is a need for action in this area, as they show an accumulation of surprisingly dangerous situations caused by e-bikes. E-scooters, scooters with electric motors, will be allowed on public roads this year. Traffic experts fear a further increase in accidents. Human models can be used to investigate accident scenarios in advance. Depending on collision behaviour, the frequency and intensity of the loads can be tested. Manufacturers of protectors, helmets and other protective articles could benefit from the recommendations.

However, the notion that muscles become stiff before an impact is not entirely new. Already several years ago, Toyota researched a corresponding model and developed a first version of the THUMS model, of which the Fraunhofer researchers are now using Version 5.

How the human body reacts to mechanical stress is not only relevant for the transport sector, but also for medical and ergonomic issues. How do materials from implants and prostheses behave in relation to human bone when subjected to abrupt stress? How do the vibrations of tools affect the user? "This is where human models come in, because we can use them to create realistic virtual images that cannot be realized experimentally," says Boljen.


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