Saturday 16 December 2017

What the human body would have to look like to survive a serious car accident

Tomás Heneghan

If you’ve ever wondered what it would take to survive a serious car crash, Graham is your answer.

Graham, who was created by Melbourne sculptor Patricia Piccinini, is part of a new road safety campaign in Australia.

Made to withstand a serious car crash, he has a huge head, no neck and a few extra nipples.

Despite looking very odd, Graham’s extra nipples and enlarged chest hide a secret.

Airbags lie beneath each rib and the size of his chest aims to match a typical car airbag in protecting his rib cage and heart.

The possibility of broken bones and whiplash are eliminated by the absence of a neck and his large head is used to shield features from his nose to ears.

As well as his modified torso, Graham has stronger legs than a typical person and knees which can bend in any direction, meaning he can jump out of the way of cars if in a pedestrian scenario.

Graham’s creator used the skills and knowledge of trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield and a road safety engineer David Logan.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Kenfield pointed to the dangers involved in even seemingly light collisions.

He explained: “The dangers of even low speeds such as 25, 30, 35 kilometres an hour is quite great.”

Explaining the need for Graham’s head to be so large, Dr Kenfield said the head was the “most significant” prone to injury.

“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.”

Meanwhile, the sculptor’s other helping hand, Dr Logan said the normal human body doesn’t have the capacity to absorb the impact of a crash.

He explained: “In the modern world we're subjecting ourselves to much higher speeds, and the body just doesn't have the physiology to absorb the energy when things go wrong.

“A crash is about managing energy so when we're moving along the road we have energy.”

He added: “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.”

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