The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) just launched their latest road safety project Towards Zero, introducing a figure called Graham, “the only person designed to survive on our roads.” According to the official media release, evolutionary science and human vulnerability are at the heart of this new project. The team, which includes trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield, crash investigator David Logan, and renowned sculptor Patricia Piccinini, explored what humans might look like if our bodies evolved to withstand the forces of car accidents. Graham wasn’t designed to entertain, he is meant to be viewed and used as an educational tool. TAC chief executive officer Joe Calafiore says the forces involved in vehicles are great and our bodies are simply not equipped to withstand them, especially not at the pace that cars continue to evolve. “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,” Dr. Logan noted in a video interview. Studies reveal that we can only withstand impacts at speeds that we ourselves can reach, without the assistance of vehicles. He later noted, “In 50% of crashes, the cars don’t have time to break.” “The strongest man cannot hold himself from going forward in a car accident because the forces are so great,” Dr. Kenfield added. Continue reading for more details, photos, and video of Project Graham.Instead of diving into another traditional road safety project, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) decided to try something new.
The TAC worked with Christian Kenfield, a leading trauma surgeon at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, David Logan, a crash investigation expert, and, Patricia Piccinini, a talented Melbourne sculptor, to develop Graham.
Our bodies are fragile and no match for the forces of traffic accidents. If our bodies evolved to successfully cope with these forces, this is what they might look like. Graham serves as a reminder to us all that we must work on creating a safer road system. Take a look at his super human features below.
According to Dr. Kenfield, a normal human skull is designed to fracture. It absorbs the force of an impact, preventing it from spreading to the brain. “Graham’s skull is a lot bigger,” artist Patricia Piccinini wrote on the Meet Graham site. “It’s almost helmet like and it’s got these inbuilt crumple zones that would absorb the energy on impact.”
This makes it one of the most vulnerable parts of our body. Patricia explained that although Graham’s brain is the same as ours, his skull is larger, with more fluid and ligaments to support the brain in the event of a collision.
There are so many things that can happen in a car accident. Our faces are susceptible to injuries caused by impacts with anything from the steering wheel to shattered glass. With a flat face and plenty of fatty tissue, Graham is designed to absorb the energy of an impact much better than we can.
One of the most distinctive parts of Graham’s body is his chest area, which droops down to his stomach. While you might think that he resembles a cow, he was made with stronger ribs, a larger, barrel-like chest, and an airbag-like torso for better protection.
The idea behind an airbag-like torso is that it will absorb the force and reduce his forward momentum, successfully protecting some of his most vital organs.
Injuries to one’s skin during an accident are rarely life threatening, but when deep enough, they can cause nerve damage and pain. They can also serve as unwanted reminders for those involved. As you can see, Graham’s skin is much thicker and tougher to better guard him against such injuries.
That’s why Patricia decided to do away with Graham’s neck. As you can see here, his ribs have been attached to his skull instead.
“On side-impact, the problem is the knee is only built to bend in one direction. It will almost always break first, ” Dr. David Logan explained. To fix this problem, Patricia designed Graham’s knees to have movement in all directions. She also fortified his joints with extra tendons for more flexibility.
We rely on our lower body to bring us places every day, but our legs can be badly damaged during an accident. Graham has hoof-like legs with extra joints that will allow him to jump out of the way of incoming traffic.
This added flexibility is crucial in reducing the impact force. Graham is ready to respond to situations in ways that we never could.
**Click below to view a short clip of Graham and the team.**