Ford, Tech and Wake Forest completing car-crash simulation of pregnant women

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The Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Ford Motor Co. are working together to create a computer-aided model of a pregnant woman for test crash simulations.

The three-year project could help Ford researchers better understand how car crashes affect pregnant women.

Ford has been working 15 years on computerized models of adults. Computer models combine computer simulations and medical research to show how skeletal structures, internal organs and the brain are affected by car crashes. Ford has developed a model of a seating and standing average-sized male. 

The bioengineering school collected data for the project to help create a realistic pregnant human body model for crash test simulation.
“Traditional crash dummies are very important, but the computerized human models allow us to see underneath the skin inside the body during a crash,” Stephen Rouhana, senior technical leader, Ford Passive Safety Research and Advanced Engineering, said in a statement. “Not all virtual models are the same. We chose to work with Virginia Tech and Wake Forest because we believe they better understand the biomechanics of pregnant women and could translate that into effective computer crash test models.”

In 2010, Ford is launching an initiative to encourage pregnant women to wear their seatbelt properly. Instructions will be included in 2010 manuals for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury. Pregnant women should wear the lab belt low on their hips and the shoulder belt should be positioned across the middle of the chest and over the shoulder.

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