Cervical vertebral motions and biomechanical responses to direct loading of human head

Koshiro Ono*, Koji Kaneoka, Shinichiro Hattori, Sadayuki Ujihashi, Eric G. Takhounts, Mark P. Haffner, Rolf H. Eppinger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


There is little known data characterizing the biomechanical responses of the human head and neck under direct head loading conditions. However, the evaluation of the appropriateness of current crash test dummy head-neck systems is easily accomplished. Such an effort, using experimental means, generates and provides characterizations of human head-neck response to several direct head loading conditions. Low-level impact loads were applied to the head and face of volunteers and dummies. The resultant forces and moments at the occipital condyle were calculated. For the volunteers, activation of the neck musculature was determined using electromyography (EMG). In addition, cervical vertebral motions of the volunteers have been taken by means of X-ray cineradiography. The Ethics Committee of Tsukuba University approved the protocol of the experiments in advance. External force of about 210 N was applied to the head and face of five volunteers with an average age of 25 for the duration of 100 msec or so, via a strap at one of four locations in various directions: (1) an upward load applied to the chin, (2) a rearward load applied to the chin without facial mask, (3) a rearward load applied to the chin with the facial mask, and (4) a rearward load applied to the forehead. The same impact force as those for the human volunteers was also applied to HY-III, THOR, and BioRID. We found that cervical vertebral motions differ markedly according to the difference in impact loading condition. Some particular characteristics are also found, such as the flexion or extension of the upper cervical vertebrae (C0, C1, and C2) or middle cervical vertebrae (C3-C4), showing that the modes of cervical vertebral motions are markedly different among the different loading conditions. We also found that the biofidelity of dummies to neck response characteristics of the volunteers at the low-level impact loads is in the order of BioRID, THOR, and HY-III. It is relevant in this regard that the BioRID dummy was designed for a low-severity impact environment, whereas THOR and HY-III were optimized for higher-severity impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-152
Number of pages12
JournalTraffic Injury Prevention
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofidelity
  • Cervical Vertebrae
  • Cineradiography
  • Dummy
  • Human Volunteer
  • Neck

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Cervical vertebral motions and biomechanical responses to direct loading of human head'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this