Whiplash protection

Two LoughboroughUniversitygraduates have won an international engineering safety competition with their unique design aimed at reducing the number of neck injuries caused by car accidents.

Ross Crouch and Simon Clark, who both graduated this summer from the University’s Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, scooped first place in the ASME International Safety Engineering and Risk Analysis Division (SERAD) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Annual Student Paper Contest.

They also became the first winners of the prize to come from outside the USA.

The competition was established to promote safety engineering as a field of study and to encourage students to consider safety engineering as a career option.

The paper by Ross and Simon, entitled ‘Design of a Smart Head Restraint System for Whiplash Protection’, outlined their idea for a new type of ‘intelligent’ car head restraint system that uses sensors to detect the position of an occupant’s head when seated in a car seat. The system then uses that positional information to move the head restraint into an optimum position to reduce the chances of receiving whiplash injuries in the event of a rear impact.

Dr. Memis Acar, who supervised the students’ entry in the competition said: “I am delighted that Ross and Simon have won first place in this prestigious contest. They worked incredibly hard on the project and their head restraint design is incredibly innovative.”

The official awards ceremony will take place at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Walt Disney World, Orlando, in November. At the event Simon and Ross will be presented with their prize – a cheque for $2,000.

Earlier this year Ross and Simon were also invited to participate in the Student Safety Technology Design competition finals, organised in conjunction with the 19th Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV 2005). They were selected along with five other entrants from across the world to take part in the event, which was held in WashingtonDC.