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New dummy design and development wins US Department of Defense award

Blacksburg, Va. -- The Virginia Tech Wake Forest University's School of Biomedical Engineering and Science's Center for Injury Biomechanics has received the Army Modeling and Simulation Award for 2008.

The Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army and Director of the Army presented the award for research that could ultimately help save eyesight and reduce morbidity and mortality associated with facial injury.

The center was selected from 57 applicants from around the nation for leading a team of researchers in the design of a new test dummy. The Virginia Tech team was lead by Stefan Duma, a professor of mechanical engineering in Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, and his graduate student Eric Kennedy, who is now an assistant professor at Bucknell University. Together Duma and Kennedy lead a three-year research effort that included key partners from the United States Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory of Ft. Rucker, Ala., as well as Denton Inc. of Detroit, Mich.

The Department of Defense commended the team for developing the Facial and Ocular Countermeasures Safety (FOCUS) headform. The FOCUS headform is a state-of-the-art physical model capable of measuring impact loads to the face and eyes and represents the beginning of the next generation of higher fidelity anatomical test devices.

The FOCUS headform provides Army materiel developers the ability to assess face and eye injury risk, determine the benefit of potential face and eye protection devices, and characterize any residual injury risk due to behind-armor effects or novel threats. This device will allow the development of standards for eye and face protection devices and has been favorably tested in explosive environments to characterize blast injury.

"In addition to benefiting the military, it is exciting to note that the FOCUS headform has civilian applications in automobile safety and sports biomechanics. For example, we are currently working with the Virginia Tech Sports Medicine Department to develop advanced face guards for baseball and softball catchers through FOCUS testing," noted Duma.

Representatives of the winning team received the award on Tuesday, Dec. 2 in Orlando, Fla., at the awards ceremony during the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference.

The award comes on the heels of a $4.9 million grant from the Global Human Body Models Consortium to the Center for Injury Biomechanics to conduct a study to produce a better understanding of what happens to individuals subjected to body trauma. The center is known internationally for its research on trauma and how it affects the human body.


Contact: Lynn Nystrom
Virginia Tech

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