Body surrogates provide more answers

Tue 02 Nov 2021 15:17

The next step is being taken in the development of physical models of a human head and neck in search for better safety against head injuries.

Realistic head and neck surrogate

Under the guidance of Andrey Koptyug, associate professor at Sports Tech Research Centre, master student Ludovico Riello from Padua University has developed a realistic neck surrogate for advanced helmet testing used together with head surrogate developed earlier. The advanced neck surrogate is specially adapted to be used in laboratory tests and can replace the rigid hybrid III neck used in today’s crash test dummies.

Standard tests and data models don't say everything

Mechanical tests of safety equipment according to different standards and computer modelling have limitations. They don't say what's actually happening inside the brain. One development is to make use of advanced physical models of body parts, surrogates, with built-in sensors. This is a modern extension of the computer "digital twin" concept, when such twin becomes a biofidelic surrogate. This is where the realistic physical model of the head and neck comes in.

20 sensors with 64 measuring points provide more answers

The engineered head and neck surrogates were developed using advanced 3D printing based on real CT images. Head surrogate contains rubber brain and oil representing cerebrospinal fluid, and 20 embedded sensors with a total of 64 measured values.

- Computer models are valuable, but cannot be thoroughly tested from within themselves. Thus, certain doubts are always present if the modeling results are correct. By doing tests on body surrogates with built-in sensors in parallel and comparing with the computer model, we get a more complete picture and can validate both methods. So we can gain better knowledge what happens during head and neck injuries and can improve safety, says Andrey Koptyug.

Knowledge that can then be used by helmet and neck guard manufacturers in, for example, sport and construction industry to develop safety equipment with improved protective properties and the same time manufactured in more sustainable way.

Successful collaboration

Sports Tech Research Centre collaborates with the University of Padua since 2015, which has led to students having the opportunity to do their master’s thesis at the research center in Östersund within Master-by-Research program of Mid Sweden University.

- This work produces high quality results both in research and education, generating joint research papers in conference proceedings and international journals, and resulting in high-score Master Thesis assessments. Ludovico’s Thesis and Exam presentation in mechanical engineering  received very good ratings at home in Italy, scoring  108 points out of 110, says Andrey Koptyug,

The work has been done within the research project Augmented Sports, which is carried out with the support of the European Regional Development Fund and the municipality of Östersund.

Examples of the joint publications

Examples of the joint publications with the Master-by-Research students from Padua working with the development of head-neck surrogates for safety research:

Feasibility of using a novel instrumented human head surrogateto measure helmet, head and brain kinematics and intracranial pressureduring multidirectional impact tests. Nicola Petrone, Gianluca Candiotto, Edoardo Marzella, Federico Uriati, Giovanni Carraro, Mikael Bäckström, Andrey Koptyug. J Sci Med Sport. 2019; 22 Suppl 1:S78-S84.

A Novel Multi-Axial Pressure Sensor Probe for Measuring Triaxial Stress States Inside Soft Materials. Giuseppe Zullo, Anna Leidy Silvestroni, Gianluca Candiotto, Andrey Koptyug and Nicola Petrone. Sensors 2021, 21, 3487.


The page was updated 11/2/2021