This is ‘Graham’, an artist’s rendering of what humans would look like if our evolution kept pace with the development of modern cars.
Australian artist Patricia Piccinin teamed up with trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield and Monash University road safety engineer Dr. David Logan to craft a human body impervious to the forces involved in car accidents.
What came out of the collaboration is Graham, bulbous head and all. “The truth is, cars have evolved a lot faster than we have,” Dr. Logan told the Australian Transport Accident Commission (TAC). “Our bodies are just not equipped to deal with the forces in a common crash scenario.”
Graham was created to show just how vulnerable our bodies can be when involved in a road traffic collision. As part of the TAC’s “Toward Zero” road safety campaign, Graham will show what we might look like if we were built to survive on our busy roads.
And here’s why he looks like he does. To start with Graham’s skull has been engineered to absorb more of the impact earlier, much like a helmet.
The structure of his skull is larger with inbuilt crumple zones to absorb any impact forces. The crumple zones aid in slowing down the momentum of his head as it moves forward on impact and increases his skull’s ability to stop the force from continuing through to damage his brain.
To help avoid injury his nose is reduced and his ears are protected by the larger structure of his skull and neck. Fatty tissue has been added around protruding areas like his cheekbones to help further absorb the energy on impact.
Graham has also been designed with stronger ribs to give him better protection in a crash. His chest is large and barrel-like to withstand greater impacts. However, his torso is more airbag-like than armour-like.
Sacks, that do a similar job to that of an airbag, have been placed between each of Graham’s ribs. On impact these airbags absorb the force and reduce his forward momentum.mThe airbags provide an inbuilt added layer of protection for the heart and other vital organs.
Injuries to the legs, feet and ankles can cause long-term debilitation because we are so reliant on them for everyday movement. His lower ankle area has an extra joint for increased mobility, and his knees are incredibly flexible in case of an impact. The shin itself is the least protected bone in the body, with only a thin layer of skin covering it.