SCIENCE

Cycling is undoubtedly good for you but, as Donal McNally is all too aware, accidents happen. A Professor of Bioengineering at Nottingham University his work involves simulating accidents to analyse the forces and stress acting on the human skeleton.

Cycling home in late 2010 he was involved in the "ultimate ironic accident". Hit from behind by a car he suffered a broken neck, a lower back fracture and three cracked ribs, but was saved by his cycling helmet.

As Donal himself says, this outcome was determined not by chance, but by the laws of physics.

In this short film, he explores the cycle helmet technology used to prevent injuries and fatalities on the road -- including his own -- and demonstrates how the extra padding around your head dissipate the energy of the impact.

In the absence of volunteers for randomised controlled trials involving real accidents, Donal performs tests using computer simulations re-running the same accident and conditions with or without different types of helmet. Without a memory of his own near-fatal accident he can recreate the collision with a computer simulation to finally discover why he survived.

This film is part of a project funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering to develop the on camera communication skills of engineers across the UK.

Find out more on the Ri Channel: richannel.org/collections/2012/components

j vimeo.com/50828264

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