By on July 21, 2016

Meet Graham

What would your body look like if it evolved to survive a car crash?

That’s the question a group of Australians had in mind when they created Graham, a disturbingly lifelike creation designed to show how vulnerable our bodies are in a low-speed impact.

Project Graham is part of Towards Zero, an Australian government initiative designed to (eventually) eliminate road deaths through technology and policy. To create Graham, the project grouped together a trauma surgeon, road safety engineer, and an artist, and told them to play Dr. Moreau.

“In the modern world, we’re subjecting our bodies to much higher speeds, and the body just doesn’t have the physiology to absorb the energy when things go wrong,” said Dr. David Logan, senior research fellow at the Monash University Accident Research Center.

No matter what a body looks like, a high-speed impact will likely be fatal without restraints and cushioning devices. So, the team went to work on designing one that would survive low-speed impacts between 15 to 22 miles per hour.

“The dangers at even low speeds … is quite great,” said Christian Kenfield, a trauma surgeon at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. “With our increased speeds, even the good design of the body is not protecting organs in some cases.”

The results of the project were — literally — not pretty. Graham might be able to bounce off the hood of a car or soak up a steering wheel with grace and aplomb, but his Tinder profile would need exceptionally blurry shots for anyone to swipe right. Besides his extra wide head and neck and his caved-in face, Graham’s warped legs and alien-like booblets (chest protection, see?) adds up to a body meant for radio.

Despite its lack of sex appeal, the creation has lessons for a variety of curriculums — not just the vehicle safety realm. That’s why you can rent it. As for Graham, he has a fun summer planned, with educational appearances planned throughout the Australian state of Victoria. Beach appearances would be ill-advised.

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69 Comments on “Australians Create Terrifying Man-Thing to Showcase Vehicle Safety...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    This guy takes neckbeard to a whole new level.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Also, it seems like the female version might have 12 boobs.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The Aussie road safety folks love speed enforcement and using blunt statements to get their point across.

    When I was there, there were frequent public service announcements on the radio that made it clear that driving even a few kilometers above the speed limit would result in immediate death. In rural areas, there are signs that advise you that DROWSY DRIVERS DIE. (Comparable signs in the US are not quite as dramatic.) Subtlety is not one of their specialties down there.

    (The cigarette packaging is also along those lines. Brand logos can no longer be included on the box, and the packaging consists of some large hideous photo of a rotting body part or whatnot, accompanied by a horrible health factoid. Apparently, this has helped the sale of lower-tier cheaper cigarette brands because the branding has become less important.)

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Perhaps but aren’t the flora, fauna, and topography of Australia always trying their best to kill Australians?

      http://rare.us/story/these-10-terrifying-creatures-prove-australia-is-the-deadliest-place-in-the-world/

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        If the spiders and the crocs don’t kill you, then the vegemite will.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        28-Cars-Later,
        It seems over the past few years shark attacks have increased and so have crocodile attacks. It generally the tourist who are attacked by crocs. They don’t realise you don’t stand on a river bank up north, even for a quick glimpse.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Dude I had to catch a Squirtle.

          Edit: I’m also always surprised at how hard AUS cracks down on mature video games.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            CoreyDL,
            After the Port Arthur massacre lots of research was carried out into how and why this occurred.

            You can come to any Aussie beach and females sit around topless.

            Like the news, blood and guts and horrible articles can be put on the news, kids watch this. Here on public TV nudity isn’t censored like the US either.

            I think maybe priorities must change. What is worse for a kid, seeing tits on a beach or a mother breast feeding or some footage of a LGB dropping on a group of people (which is on our news as well).

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “What is worse for a kid”

            I don’t know man. The first time I saw a naked lady on TV (Showtime’s Outer Limits -“Valerie23”) it was like opening the freaking Ark of the Covenant. It definitely affected me way more than cutting down random cyber people on Sega.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Sounds like you were about to have a Time Crisis.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @28Cars, NA flora and Fauna is very much more lethal. That is why My Wife and myself did not like walking through Yellostone. A female Moose, decided to become territorial and had the park staff on edge the day before.
        Bear scratch marks on pavement..come on.

        Greatest natural killer in Australia is the introduced European Honey bee. Kangaroos and Wombats do not break into cars, kill unfortunate hikers, or wander into people’s backyards
        Alligators have taken people in the US, more people are attached by sharks in California, than Australia

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Maybe subtlety shouldn’t be so prevalent here, hmmm? I do agree that “politically correct” speech has gone too far but I also agree that blatantly insulting and denigrating someone for their race, color or creed needs to end. The problem is figuring out how to be less subtle without being obviously insulting. It seems the Aussies are on the right track.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Scared straight” programs feel good, but they don’t work. Most people assume that they are smarter than the victims.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Agree. Most effective Safety advertisement here and I think it is one of the Victorian Road Safety campaigns.
        A car is weaving on the road ,voice over says ” He is not drunk, he is just tired” then you see the car head into a oncoming truck. How they did it, makes you think more about the safety campaign

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @Vulpine
        One of the ” he is not drunk, just tired”campaigns
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=we3aNazTODs

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Pch101,
      That was, what 15-20 years ago. Time flies mate. We now have smart phones!

      You are correct to a degree putting aside your usual arrogance.

      But, at the end of the day, our road fatalities are currently out of reach for your safety guys, they would love to have our road fatality figures.

      Also, the advertisements you are referring to about speeding were more about excessive speeding, not driving a little over the limit. A bit of a beat up on your part ……………….. don’t you think?

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Meh… Yooper.

  • avatar
    319583076

    What a bunch of nonsense. The overwhelming majority of drivers have never been involved in any sort of accident. The idea that accidents are so common and damaging that human bodies adapt to surviving them is completely specious and misleading.

    The true adaptation is happening on the engineering and construction side in addition to road building, signage, and awareness efforts. So, the true adaptation is along the lines of using our highly developed brains to solve problems with tools – a fact which is utterly perverted and lost by this fallacious campaign.

    *frowns*

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      An average driver will file 3-4 collision claims over a lifetime.

      Most people will be involved in car crashes at some point.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I’ll agree with you there, Pch. If conditions such as Numbers up there contends really existed, we would have almost no need for automobile insurance.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Vulpine,
          Over the past 25-30 years Australia has put obstacles like platforms, speed humps and roundabouts especially in suburban streets to slow down traffic.

          I’d say we still have the same number of accidents as in the past, except speed has been reduced.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            And yet where I live those roundabouts have served both to slow drivers down AND reduce accidents by nearly 90%

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Vulpine,
            They do the same thing here. People, think a low speed accident, would not be that dangerous,but they can be lethal

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            Vulpine is right. In the US, roundabouts have reduced accidents, reduced the severity of accidents, improved traffic flow, and cut down on emissions.

            http://www.autoblog.com/2011/02/23/roundabouts-reduce-accidents/

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I won’t say a word about “cut down emissions” in that line; but the local roundabouts where I live have clearly cut down the crashes, no matter how loudly people complained when it was installed.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I suspect that the anti-roundabout brigade confuses the modern roundabout, which is designed to slow traffic down, with the old rotaries that were designed to speed it up.

            Rotaries were an early failed experiment that contributed to crashes. As it turns out, getting cars through intersections quickly isn’t such a good idea.

            Roundabouts reduce crash incidents and make them less severe. We should have more of them.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Adam,
            Roundabouts have an optimal size , above that and you need Traffic Lights. I have been in earlier roundabouts( what has scared others), that were like entering a figure 8 demolition derby.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            No kidding. You need to use the right tool for the job. There is no one size fits all intersection plan.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @PCH101: Rotaries were an early failed experiment…

            Here’s an experiment in re-working an old rotary in Massachusetts. If you don’t know how to read road signs or understand lane markings, it’s a living hell. Otherwise, it so far seems to be a nice improvement – except for the people that can’t read road signs or understand lane markings.

            The rotary in question was getting backed up during rush hour and this is the attempt to fix it.

            youtube.com/watch?v=1J8wbG8JhyU
            youtube.com/watch?v=X2rHNmOuX2w

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Even if your claim is true (I don’t think it is – averages without variances are difficult to parse), the vehicles, restraints, and safety systems are evolving to mitigate injury – not the human body.

        Stupid campaign is stupid.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          That figure comes from insurance industry data. So it probably understates the results, because not every crash is accompanied by an insurance claim.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Methinks you are misunderstanding the purpose of this ad campaign. What they’re saying is that you would have to look something like that model in order to survive a low-speed crash without those restraints, air bags, etc. Why? Because even today there are drivers who refuse to wear their seat belts specifically and have been known to disable other safety-oriented systems.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    I’m pretty sure I went to high school with that guy.

  • avatar

    This is nothing, guys. Dig up “Man After Man” by Dougal Dixon, and enjoy your nightmares.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    The artist is Patricia Piccinini, and her work in lifelike sculpture is AMAZING.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Pretty sure I’ve seen that dude on an episode of Dr. Who.

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    I picture of Hillary would’ve worked a lot better.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I read one comment above by Pch101 which alluded to one of the techniques used to change the culture towards “speeding”.

    I think the rigid enforcement of people exceeding the speed limit has made the traffic flow at pretty much a similar speed. I also believe our system for licencing is tighter. You are not entitled to drive on the road in Australia, this must be earnt.

    What kills isn’t the speed at which you travel but the difference in speed is the culprit. So, if all travel along the highway at 100-110kph there is little difference in speed which equates to less acccidents/fatalities. There is now talk to up the limit to 130kph on some highways, like in the NT.

    I do see in the US a blatant disregard by most towards road rules, almost Asian like. I do believe this is one of the biggest contributors to the excessively high road fatality rate in the US compared to it’s OECD friends.

    If anyone from the US ever drives in Australia, remember obey road rules as they are actually enforced. Why have these controls and rules in place and not actually audit and enforce them?

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Our body can’t tolerate much of an impact beyond 20 miles per hour or 30kph. 20 foot fall yields the same force. There is a reason why school zones are 20 mpg (30kph).

    The big thick neck on Graham would be to protect the C-spine. Jack has talked about HANS Device’s and we all recall Dale Earnhardt’s death. I’ve seen CT’s of injuries like Earnhardt’s.
    The brain can “shake” inside the vault of the skull without any direct impact.
    The heart basically is suspended in the chest by the great vessels. I’ve seen CT’s of torn aorta’s and also seen it firsthand.
    Your solid organs are all basically protected by the rib cage. Even the liver can be ruptured/torn by deceleration forces pulling against its anchor points.

    We are pretty naïve to the forces involved in even a low speed crash. Those who don’t think seat belts, SRS, crumple zones and other safety features are a waste of money need to spend some time in a trauma ER.

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    Graham looks like he knows how to party. Dude could survive all kinds of dumb crap people do when drinking.

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