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Safer Roads for All Ranks - Milestone 1872-Channel WIAMan Test

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

While automakers and Global NCAP continue to focus on the safety of drivers, passengers and vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists, the military remains steadfastly focused on the safety of its personnel, as well. The U.S. Army has continued to expand its fleet of WIAMan ATDs which were developed to assess potential skeletal injuries of soldiers exposed to underbody blasts (UBB). Officially known as the Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin, it is undoubtedly the most advanced and biofidelic vertical load manikin ever built.

As the ATD fleet grows, so do the opportunities for additional testing both in the field and in the lab. Just prior to the last shipment to the U.S. Army, marked the first time that twelve WIAMan were together in one location. The new WIAMan, plus 2 development and 5 production manikins, were all gathered in Diversified Technical System’s ATD Lab located in Seal Beach, CA for system validation testing and some ‘family’ photos.

“This was our first chance to test the External Distributor at full capacity. There literally have never been 12 WIAMan in existence, let alone all in one place,” said Tamer Abubakr, ATD Systems Manager at DTS. The test involved connecting all 12 WIAMan to a single DTS External Distributor, which manages test communication commands. As anticipated, the nearly 2000-channel test was a success.

DTS’s involvement with the WIAMan project includes building the actual ATD (anthropomorphic test device), as well as the SLICE6 data acquisition system embedded inside and ancillary equipment, like the External Distributor. Each WIAMan supports up to 156 sensors (data) channels. “A single exit cable from each ATD gets plugged into the External Distributor to manage communication, status, trigger, IEEE 1588 synchronization, and backup power if needed,” explained Abubakr.

The milestone 1872-channel laboratory test involved connecting 12 WIAMan to a single DTS External Distributor which manages communication, status, trigger and IEEE 1588 synchronization for the underbody blast testing.

Tamer then went on to explain, in general terms, how a blast test is set up. First, the miniature SLICE6 data recorders and sensors are embedded inside each WIAMan as part of the ATD build. The manikins are then positioned in the test vehicle and an exit cable from each ATD is run to the External Distributor. The Distributor sends commands to and from each ATD, and it’s secured in a blast bunker many meters away from the actual blast site. While one External Distributor can ‘talk’ to up to 12 WIAMan at a time, the official Command Center is miles away managing the complete test set-up and trigger, which is transmitted via fibre optic cables to the Distributor and then to each WIAMan.

DTS is prepared to deliver additional WIAMan to the U.S. Army as part of the contract, which includes up to 40 WIAMan in total. An official 700-page WIAMan accreditation report is currently under review by the U.S. Army, which will make WIAMan the first-ever accredited ATD for use in underbody blast testing.

DTS has been part of the WIAMan development team from the initial concept phase, including being chosen as the prime contractor to the U.S. Army. The Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin represents one of the most advanced collaborations of injury biomechanics research, engineering, manufacturing and testing. “WIAMan is the most hi-tech, biofidelic soldier surrogate in existence. It’s all about the data and each test provides more data to help keep our warfighters safer,” added Abubakr.

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