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9 September 2005 PR 05/84

Whiplash protection project scoops international award

Two Loughborough University graduates have won an international engineering safety competition with their unique design aimed at reducing the number of neck injuries caused by car accidents.

Ross Crouch and Simon Clark, who both graduated this summer from the University’s Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, scooped first place in the ASME International Safety Engineering and Risk Analysis Division (SERAD) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Annual Student Paper Contest. They also became the first winners of the prize to come from outside the USA.

The competition was established to promote safety engineering as a field of study and to encourage students to consider safety engineering as a career option. The paper by Ross and Simon, entitled ‘Design of a Smart Head Restraint System for Whiplash Protection’, outlined their idea for a car head restraint that adjusts its position automatically and continuously to provide the correct support for the vehicle occupant’s head.

Dr Memis Acar, who supervised the students’ entry in the competition said: “I am delighted that Ross and Simon have won first place in this prestigious contest. They worked incredibly hard on the project and their head restraint design is incredibly innovative.”

The official awards ceremony will take place at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Walt Disney World, Orlando, in November. At the event Simon and Ross will be presented with their prize – a cheque for $2,000.

Earlier this year Ross and Simon were also invited to participate in the Student Safety Technology Design competition finals, organised in conjunction with the 19th Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV 2005). They were selected along with five other entrants from across the world to take part in the event, which was held in Washington DC.

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Notes to editors
Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place Loughborough in the top flight of UK universities, and industry highlights Loughborough in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 45% of the University’s income is for research. The University has been awarded four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; and for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development.

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