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News Link • Transportation

How Gaming Tech Is Making Safer Cars

•, By Lou Fancher
 “With 33,000 people in the U.S. dying last year in collisions, there’s a disconnect between crash test results and what underserved people are experiencing in accidents,” says Matt Reed, Head of the Biosciences Group at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).

To back up his talk, Reed and his team of researchers are employing unlikely tools. A $220 dollar scanning device, designed to record depth information and commonly used by videogame creators, is capturing body shapes in real time, allowing UMTRI to build virtual humans for vehicle assessment.

“For decades, car companies have been able to test engines and [inanimate] objects. Our work is making body shape and posture of vehicle occupants more realistic,” says Reed.

In addition to a $50,000 handheld scanner that measures 60 landmarks on a test crash model and the $120,000 laser scanner that captures 500,000 points in 12 seconds, these faster, highly detailed scans are changing the world of crash test modeling.

“In federal rules tests, there are just two dummies tested,” Reed reveals. “And manufacturers are using computer simulations that are effective in predicting what will happen in a dummy test.”


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