There Is More to Crash Test Dummies Than Meets The Eye

Vehicle accidents have been occurring since the day vehicles were invented; some of them aren’t more than just a scratch on the car, however there are some that can be fatal or life-threatening.

It was back in 1930 when automakers started focusing on adding safety features to vehicles to make them safe. Eventually with time, crash-test dummies were introduced. These dummies are now used to test the impact of injury an accident can have on an individual.

Though they might look quite simple when you first set your eyes on them, the truth is that there is a lot of thinking and engineering that goes into the way that crash dummies are designed.

The model that is being used nowadays is known as Hybrid III and was designed in the 1970s by General motors. It is the dummy used for testing by NHTSA and IIHs in some cases.

Hybrid III is much more advanced than the previous model. Even though it was designed 43 years ago, it is still very updated for crash testing. It is equipped with a lot more sensors as compared to the previous versions.

If you are someone who wants to buy or sell your car, then this information might be quite helpful for you.  Read down below to find out what’s inside.


It takes professionals three days to adjust the components of the dummy. Previously, the construction of the dummy was heavy, it got hot during testing, and couldn’t quantify as many factors as the present model can.

However, with technological innovation, there has been a lot of advancement in crash-test dummies as well. The modern Hybrid III features sensors are as small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and the data gathered by these sensors is much easier and simpler to interpret. However, the sensors are very expensive and represent more than $200,000 of the Hybrid III’s $250,000 cost.

Body on Frame (Located on the entire body)

To ensure near-real sensitivity and quality, the skeleton of the dummy comprises rubber, aluminum, and steel parts. A layer of pliable vinyl and urethane-foam flesh can be found surrounding the structure.

The design of the dummy has been made in such a way to consider NHTSA information on the physique’s post-impact placement and variations. The dummies used by IIHS have a similar body structure to that of the majority of American adults; the small dummy weighs 110 pounds and measures five feet tall, whereas the bigger one weighs 223 pounds and measures six feet two inches.

Potentiometers (located on the dummy’s chest and knees)

Potentiometers interpret movement into electric voltage and are used to measure body displacement. The voltage readings can be used to examine the impact that a crash might have on the knees and chest of the individual in the car.

Accelerometers (Located on the dummy’s head, chest, pelvis, and feet)

Accelerometer is a tool that measures proper acceleration. These modules measure the pace of increasing speed in a specific direction along different points of the dummy. For example, the three units in the head, for example, movement across the x-, y-, and z-axes is tracked by the three units in the head.  This information is usually used to calculate the probability of injury.

Load Cells (Located on the dummy’s neck and legs)

Load cells on crash dummies are used to measure the bending impact and forces that a crash might have on an individual. For instance, these can measure the amount of impact that the crash might have on the knees of the individual if they hit the dash with a force. It can help determine the extent of injury such as broken bones, or damaged tissue, that can be caused to the accident.


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