Research In Action

Research In Action

Ridhi Sahani, MS
Studying the Impact of Bracing on Child Occupant Protection
September 26, 2017

Like many rising college seniors, I wanted to spend my last summer as an undergraduate doing something meaningful that aligned with my interests in injury prevention, biomechanics, and children. Through my research advisor at Bucknell University, I learned about the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at CIRP and was thrilled to be accepted.

As a Biomedical Engineering major, I worked in the Engineering Core under the mentorship of Thomas Seacrist as part of the Low Acceleration Time Extended (LATE) Project, which studies the impact of pre-crash evasive swerving maneuvers on occupant kinematics to better inform pediatric crash test dummies and seat restraints. I participated in data collection, where I placed motion capture markers and EMG sensors on human volunteers. After data collection, I was involved in post processing and developed skills in 3D Motion Capture and Matlab.

Presenting A Research Abstract

I was also given the tremendous opportunity to follow through with my own research question on one of the five seat conditions tested. I focused on the braced condition, where subjects are instructed to grab onto the bracing structure before the trial starts. With pre-crash maneuvers happening before the actual crash, occupants are aware of the impending collision and able to brace themselves by grabbing a fixed structure such as a door handle.  

To understand the impact of bracing, I compared torso movement in the braced and relaxed seat conditions. I submitted an abstract on my findings, The Influence of Bracing on Kinematic Response of Occupants in Pre-Crash Evasive Swerving Maneuvers, and will be presenting my findings at the Biomedical Engineering Society Conference later this fall.

As I return to Bucknell University for my senior year, I know I am much better prepared for my future due to my participation in the Injury Science REU Program at CIRP. This exposure to biomechanics and injury prevention in the 10-week program has encouraged me to pursue a graduate degree in Biomechanics. The REU program has opened several doors for me, and I look forward to pursuing this exciting career path.