This virtual simulation has been conducted in partnership with Toyota, which has developed a computer model of the human body that it uses for virtual crash testing of MRI scans. Called the Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS), it is made up of almost two million elements that accurately reproduce the human form, from precise bone strength to the structure of organs.
THUMS is designed to reduce risk of spinal injury in rear impact situations and allows researchers to study serious injuries that are often difficult to measure with conventional crash-test dummies.
The MRI scans will especially help researchers to get a better understanding of spinal geometry when drivers are in a race seat, with the aim of improving future seat design to minimise the risk of drivers receiving spinal cord or pelvic injuries in the event of a crash.
The technology present in THUMS can also be used alongside other data gathering safety devices, such as the Accident Data Recorders and Ear accelerometer projects, to help recreate and understand what happened in historic crashes to try and reduce the chances of drivers becoming injured if those circumstances were to be repeated.