Right now, crash testers use just a few sizes of dummies to test cars in the event of an accident. But with 33,000 deaths last year, not nearly everyone is accounted for.
What about an elderly woman with brittle bones? A fat guy? A body builder? Now tech from video games is helping to make cars safer for every body type.
Right now, cars are tested and rated based on pretty much just two body types. That means a car that earns five stars in a crash test rating isn't likely to protect absolutely everyone the same way. But researchers at the University of Michigan are working with a cost effective way to see that more body types are tested in the future.
By using a laser scanner that is typically reserved for video games, UM is able to build virtual models of more people to crash test them. The cost of this scanner, which is typically used by video game creators? Just $220. The cheaper scanner works in concert with two others, a $50,000 and $120,000 laser to make highly detailed models of humans.
The scans are a one-time cost, compared to crash test dummies, which cost more than $100,000 each when loaded up with sensors and electronics.
UM is able to use the scans to tweak crash test models, which can then change airbags and cars themselves. This could spell a safer automotive future for all of us that aren't acerage 5'10" males that weigh 175 pounds.
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