Kettering's adoption program

Jan 14, 2008

Kettering is looking for more dummies! No, the academic standards haven't been relaxed, the University needs more crash test dummies to expand research capabilities.

When Kettering University asked General Motors to adopt a dummy they weren’t talking about students with bad grades, the “adoption” is for a crash test dummy to be used in the Crash Safety Center at the school.

GM is the first “adoptive parent” in Kettering’s “Adopt A Dummy” program, donating $29,500 to underwrite an anthropomorphic test device (ATD, or, crash test dummy) that will expand research opportunities in the Crash Safety Center, especially those associated with pediatric crash safety.

“We currently have a 12-month, 3-year-old, 50th percentile male and BioSID dummies for research,” said Dr. Janet Brelin-Fornari, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Crash Center. Only the 50th percentile male dummy has a name so far. He was dubbed “SpartaKUs” after a campus-wide contest. “BioSID” stands for Bio-fidelic Side Impact Dummy, a highly specialized dummy with instrumentation tuned for data collection in side impact crash events.

In order to expand research opportunities the “Adopt a Dummy” program goal is to acquire ATDs representing a newborn, a six-month-old, a six-year-old, a ten-year-old, and a fifth percentile (small) female.

Kettering’s Crash Safety Center is used for research and research training by faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, industry, government, community groups and orthopedic surgical residents from McLaren Regional Medical Center in Flint.

In the past year the Center handled $300,000 worth of research projects, according to Brelin-Fornari, and is capable of handling more projects.

Students complete hands-on laboratory assignments for classes in Collision Analysis, Data Acquisition and Occupant Protection. Professors utilize the Center for demonstrations in Dynamics classes and run tests focusing on community education, such as child restraints that have been correctly and incorrectly installed.

The areas of research in child protection in automobile collisions are growing and the addition of these ATDs would keep the Kettering University Crash Safety Center at the cutting edge of this research, in addition to exposing undergraduate students to the full range of child seat development and provide outreach to the community including driver education instructors, child seat installation technicians, high school physics teachers, young parents, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, K-12 students, and college students in nursing programs. 

The Crash Safety Center is supported by a Crash Safety Industrial Advisory Board.  This Advisory Board brings business and industry representation and guidance to the curriculum, laboratories, and the co-op experience.  Kettering’s goal is to provide business and industry with knowledgeable and skilled engineers and future managers.  Therefore, the institution seeks partnerships with business and industry leaders. Some of the corporate partners participating in the Crash Safety Industrial Board include General Motors, R.A. Denton, Lear, Dorel Juvenile Group, Takata, Autoliv, the State of Michigan and AAA of Michigan. 

 Written by Dawn Hibbard
(810) 762-9865