GM might be falling behind Toyota in global car production, but they plan to stay ahead in at least one area: Crash test dummies. Five of the newest "anthropomorphic test devices" were added to the General Motors test group. The special thing about these newer generation dummies is that they each have their own internal data recorders that can capture "10,000 samples of crash data per second for each of the 24 data channels." That's a lot of data. And the data capture and recording are the most important part of using the dummies in the first place.

Older anthropomorphs had cumbersome cables and heavy equipment fitted to them which restricted their movement and usefulness. As the technology has advanced, fortunately, the size of the monitoring equipment has shrunk. They used to need a phone booth sized computer to collect the data. That was reduced to a monitor the size of a shoebox a few years ago. But it still had to be used externally and tethered to work. Now that same recording device is the size of a cell phone so it can be mounted on the dummy itself. These new dummies are called i-Dummies for their i-ntegrated electronics. Said to be much more effective, they aren't cheap.

Each dummy costs $125,000, but researchers know they're invaluable. Because there are fewer pieces and because it's so much easier to move the data recorder, the i-Dummy lets GM speed up turnaround times and get the testing done faster. The time savings and increased accuracy of the testing and data are well worth it. The i-Dummies will show up soon in GM's new rollover test facility.

[Source: GM]

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