Three senior engineering students have created a harness and vest system
to better protect people with osteoporosis and other brittle bone disorders,
a system that significantly reduced impact forces when tested on a high-tech
crash test dummy.
The students were responding to a challenge from the Center for Injury Research and Policy in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins. "We estimate that as many as 13 million people with osteoporosis, osteogenesis impefecta (brittle bone disorder) and hemophilia need some additional protection from forces applied to the torso during a car crash," said Gary S. Sorock, an associate professor at the center. "The assignment was to design and test a restraint system that would reduce these forces, protecting the ribs and the sternum in particular."
During their two-semester Engineering Design Project course in the Department
of Mechanical Engineering, the team of three seniors addressed this challenge.
The team designed a vest filled with three layers of foam padding, each
with a different density, to absorb some of the energy that causes a motorist's
chest to compress during a crash. In people with weakened bones, this
compression can lead to broken ribs and other serious internal injuries.
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