But a crash's greatest force is typically absorbed by the parts of the body least able to withstand the impact - the head, brain and neck, Glatter said.
Graham's highly reinforced skull, along with his other modifications, could allow him to emerge from a high-impact collision with fewer serious injuries, Glatter said.
Head to toe, Graham's extreme modifications combine cushioning and armor to maximize the body?s protection. The cushioning is made of layers of simulated fatty tissue in the face and torso, while the armor consists of reinforced bone structure in the skull and ribs.
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Studies support the effectiveness of cushioning for protecting people struck by moving cars, according to Dr. Patricia Ayoung-Chee, an assistant professor of surgery at New York University's Langone Medical Center, who was not involved in the TAC initiative.
"For a pedestrian, data shows that the higher your BMI [body mass index], the more protected you tend to be in terms of severity of injury," Ayoung-Chee told Live Science in an email.
But if you're already in a car, she added, a combination of cushioning and armor is your best bet for reducing your risk of being hurt. Car-safety designs combine sturdy framework and devices like air bags that absorb impact, "so there really is a role for both," Ayoung-Chee said.
Under the skin
The TAC unveiled Graham on July 21 as an online interactive experience, and as an art installation at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. The sculpture will be on display through Aug. 8 and will then tour other locations in Australia, according to the TAC. Visitors who see Graham in person can use Google Tango - augmented-reality technology - to peer beneath his skin and see how the modified bone and tissue would protect him from harm during a high-speed collision.
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Graham's enlarged head contains more fluid and ligaments that suspend a normal-size brain and protect it from bruising. His large skull is designed to mimic a safety helmet, and can absorb much of the force from an impact early, preserving the brain from harm.
Reinforced ribs extend upward to support the skull, like a built-in neck brace, while fleshy sacks between the ribs provide an extra layer of protection for the heart and other internal organs.
And an extra joint in Graham's shin increases leg flexibility, which could prevent leg bones from snapping during a crash, and could improve his ability as a pedestrian to leap out of harm's way, his creators explained in a statement.
Though Graham's appearance may seem bizarre, TAC officials expect that his physical exaggerations will inspire people to recognize the susceptibility of the human body to injury from a car crash.
"You can look at it and laugh it off because it's sort of ridiculous," Ayoung-Chee said. "Or it can make the general public realize that as much as cars have become safer, we're still vulnerable. So maybe it'll encourage some people to have safer driving practices."
"It's a very interesting way to approach a problem and make it more relatable to the nonmedical public," Ayoung-Chee told Live Science.
Original article on Live Science.
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