Center Blog

News and updates from Center for Applied Biomechanics

    Brain Injury Calculator

    December 22, 2023
    1. Unzip DAMAGE_Calculator_v1.4.piz
    2. Save the “Brain_Injury.xlam” file in “C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\AddIns” where USERNAME is your Windows login name.
    3. Open Excel and select File – Options – Add-Ins (from left menu) – then click Go at the bottom.
      Brain Injury Calculator Configuration
    4. Make sure that the Brain_Injury Add-in is checked in the dialog box and click Ok. 



    Acting Administrator of NHTSA Visits CAB

    March 03, 2023

    NHTSA Leadership visit to CAB.JPG

    It’s not every day that we get to welcome the Acting Administrator of NHTSA into our laboratory!

    It was truly an honor to be able to show off a few of our ongoing projects, and have meaningful discussions with NHTSA leadership about road safety and injury prevention research.

    Are you interested in touring our space and hearing more about our projects? Feel free to reach out!

    THOR 50th Male Finite Element Model

    June 18, 2020

    The Test Device for Human Occupant Restraint (THOR) is an advanced anthropomorphic test device (ATD) designed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The current design of the THOR incorporates advanced sensors and instrumentation that output over 100 channels of data that allow for injury risk assessment. In congruence with the development of the dummy, a finite element (FE) computational model of the THOR 50th percentile male (Figure 1) has been developed and integrated through the collaboration between University of Virginia (UVA) and NHTSA under contract #DTNH2215D00004/DTNH2217F00090 and #693JJ921D000022/693JJ922F00126N.

    Figure 1. Version 2.7 of the NHTSA THOR FE model in seated position

    This site hosts the publicly-released versions of the NHTSA THOR FE model and associated manual and export scripts.

    Release Date

    Version (download)

    December 2019


    January 2023


    January 2024



    The Model is intended to represent the THOR 50th Percentile Male ATD hardware as described by the NHTSA. The Model has been developed and evaluated using a single precision solver of LS-DYNA version MPP R10.1.0 (64-bit).

    The Model is distributed free of charge, and with non-exclusive and non-transferable license to use the Model for internal business purposes.

    We endeavor to make the Model as complete, accurate, reliable, and easy to use as possible. UVA has conducted extensive validation and stability simulations (refer to manual), but these test cases do not cover every type of loading that is possible. Even though the Model is continuously updated and improved, each user is solely responsible for its own results. UVA assumes no responsibility whatsoever for the validity, accuracy, or applicability of the Model or any results obtained with the Model.

    Feedback about the model performance is welcome, and should be directed to Matthew Panzer at UVA ( and/or Dan Parent at NHTSA (

    Winners at the 15th Annual University of Virginia Engineering Research Symposium

    May 21, 2020


    Graduate student Sebastian Giudice (left), from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace’s Center for Applied Biomechanics, won first place in the podium presentation category at the (virtual) 15th annual University of Virginia Engineering Research Symposium. The event highlights the research achievements across all UVA Engineering’s graduate student body. Research scientist Bronek Gepner (right) who is also from the department’s Center for Applied Biomechanics, won the Research Mentor of the Year award. This award is given to a non-faculty, non-student research-focused employee who is indispensable to many students' work.

    Giudice presented his research on a new technique that he has developed to automatically generate patient-specific brain models using advanced image processing techniques. Using this technique, he is developing a dataset of brain models that will shed light on how the brain’s normal anatomical variation affects traumatic brain injury (TBI) risk and how the biomechanics of the brain during impact relates to the changes in the brain structures of TBI patients. Ultimately, he hopes that these patient-specific models will help improve the diagnosis and treatment of TBI. 

    “The work that Sebastian is doing is building the bridge that will link computational biomechanics and 3D medical imaging. The tools he has developed will first provide new insights into the mechanisms and outcomes of concussion in individual patients, but I think we will be able to extend these tools to other body regions and clinical applications where digital human body models are needed to develop optimal and personalized solutions for the patient,” said Matthew B. Panzer, deputy director of the Center for Applied Biomechanics, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and biomedical engineering and Sebastian’s advisor.

    Gepner’s research focuses on finite element modeling, numerical support of experiments, and massively parallel computing. His areas of interest are occupant safety, human body modeling and vehicle crashworthiness.

    “Because Bronek is both a leader in the field of computational biomechanics and an outstanding educator, he is a critical resource for our student engineers. He is patient, greatly interested in the student projects and makes himself available literally all the time.  The whole team values his skills and expertise, not just the students,” said Jason R. Kerrigan, director of the Center for Applied Biomechanics and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and orthopaedic surgery.

    Body Segment Position and Orientation Data From a Recent Study of Reclined Occupant Sled Testing

    March 30, 2020

    CAB researchers have recently shared body segment position and orientation data from a recent study of reclined occupant sled testing with two European consortium projects focused on improving occupant safety for new seating positions that may become popular in highly automated vehicles.  The CAB is proposing the use of these data as a standard for use in positioning human body models (HBMs) in reclined postures, since they provide a target and tolerances from realistic occupant positions. The data were shared directly with the members of the Future Occupant Safety for Crashes in Cars (OSCCAR) Project, and members of the Enabling New Occupant Postures (ENOP) consortium, led by the Laboratoire d'accidentologie, de biomécanique et d'études du comportement humain (LAB). 

    The letter sent to the OSCCAR project, and the positioning data can be found at this link.

    CAB Visits IIHS - Witnesses 2019 Tesla Model 3 40 mph Crash Test

    September 23, 2019


    31 members of UVA's Center for Applied Biomechanics visited the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) on August 15 to tour the facility and witness a crash test of a 2019 Tesla Model 3.  Located just 12 miles from each other, CAB and IIHS share a common goal of reducing injuries from automobile crashes.

    NFL Puts Up $3 Million to Find Out Who Can Build a Better Helmet

    September 13, 2019

    The competition will bring together manufacturers, engineers and entrepreneurs amid heightened awareness of the risks of repetitive head trauma. “What we’ve heard is there are a number of far-reaching ideas on white boards that folks haven’t been able to prioritize due to current constraints,” said Jeff Crandall, chair of the NFL’s engineering committee and director of the UVA Center for Applied Biomechanics. “The challenge seems to be to find a way we can get them out into the marketplace.”  READ MORE

    CAB Research Study Featured in Canadian News Outlet CBC

    July 03, 2019

    Carolyn Roberts and H3 Dummy

    CAB PhD student Carolyn Roberts and a new CAB research study by Jason Forman were featured in a new article from Canadian news outlet CBC this morning. Check it out!



    Building a Better Seatbelt

    June 20, 2019

    NPR and WMRA Public Radio aired a segment regarding seat belt research conducted at our facility.  The story features Professor Jason Kerrigan, Research Engineers Brian Overby and Patrick Fotlz, and Graduate Research Assistant (and PhD candidates) Hamed Joodaki and Carolyn Roberts.