By now, we’re all familiar with crash test dummies.
They’re human-shaped dummies placed in crash test cars to show the effects car crashes can have on the human body. This provides vital information to automotive designers so that they can improve the design of cars to be safer for humans.
But what if we reverse-engineered this concept to redesign the human body in order to make it impervious to car crashes? Melbourne, Australia, sculptor Patricia Piccinini has done just that, and the results will shock you. You have to watch the video, because no words can describe what you’ll see.
Piccinini has invented a the car-crash-resistant human body, and she has named it Graham. Graham has an oversized chest, a head that’s inflated like a balloon, various extra nipples, and no neck. And Graham, in his hideous form, is the face (and horrifying body) of the Victorian Government’s new road safety campaign.
To create Graham, Piccinini consulted trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield and road safety engineer David Logan on what it would take to build a body that could withstand a high-speed crash.
The aforementioned outsized chest and additional nipples are meant to mimic air bags and provide protection for his rib cage and the vital organs within. Without a neck, Graham won’t have to worry about broken bones, spinal column damage or whiplash. And his flattened and fattened up face is designed in such that it protects his nose and ears. You’ll probably notice that Graham’s skin looks thicker and tougher. You’d be right. This is to combat cuts and road rash.
As if this entire project didn’t command a wild sense of creativity and imagination, Piccinini has also thought of something that you likely didn’t: what if you weren’t IN the car, but rather IN FRONT OF the car during this high-speed crash? Graham has super strong legs that would allow him to jump out of the path of oncoming cars. Should he still be hit by a vehicle, his knees bend in every direction so that his legs won’t be broken.
Dr. Kenfield states, what might be rather obvious, that not even the strongest man could hold himself in place in the instance of a car accident. However, a bit more surprising, he says, “The dangers of even low speeds such as 25, 30, 35 kilometres an hour is quite great.” That’s approximately 15 to 20 miles per hour.
He continued: “The most significant part of body for injury is the head. So as the head stops, the brain actually keeps moving forward, smashing against the front part of the skull and then bouncing backwards and getting an injury on the back of the head as well.”
Dr. Logan, a roads safety expert at Monash University, added, “A crash is about managing energy so when we’re moving along the road we have energy. When we suddenly stop the car because we’re in a crash that energy has to be absorbed by the car and by the driver.”
What do you think of Graham? What do you think he teaches us about car safety?