Crushed lungs

A functional crash test dummy ‘lung’ can be used to predict injury to the lung in a car crash.

A team of Wake Forest University School of Medicine graduate students have won first place in an international safety technology design competition at the 20th Enhanced Safety of Vehicles Conference held in Lyon, France.

The conference is a bi-annual event for the advancement and dissemination of new research in the field of transportation safety sponsored by the US Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the French National Institute for Transport and Safety Research (INRETS).

Their winning entry was a functional crash test dummy ‘lung’ to predict injury to the lung in a car crash and to evaluate the safety of automobiles and effectiveness of restraints such as airbags and seatbelts.

The pulmonary surrogate predicts lung injury following a blunt impact to the chest, using pressure information. The lung looks and responds similarly to a real lung in a car crash, but is built for durability and repeatability.

The design team is currently pursuing continued testing and validation work of the pulmonary surrogate and ultimately hope to see the technology integrated into the automotive safety system design process.

It may see use in crash test dummies of the future where it would be used to better understand the mechanisms causing lung injury in a car crash.