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UBC student clinches first place in AUTO21 HQP competition

2013-12-04 08:45:37

An adaptive car seat that can reduce whiplash injuries following rear end collisions helped a University of British Columbia student win a national automotive competition. Daniel Mang, a PhD candidate, won the AUTO21 TestDRIVE competition, receiving a $10,000 scholarship for his work on anti-whiplash car seats.

Whiplash injuries are the most common injuries associated with low speed rear end collisions and a serious social and financial burden to society. Mang has helped design an adaptive anti-whiplash car seat that unlike current anti-whiplash devices, can adjust seat hinge rotation and seat back cushion deformation properties depending on occupant height and mass and collision severity. By making these adjustments, the adaptive car seat design can reduce occupant responses and ultimately, reduce the risk of whiplash injury during rear-end collisions. Mang works under the supervison of the following University of British Columbia faculty: Dr. Jean-Sébastien Blouin, associate professor of kinesiology, Dr. Gunter Siegmund, adjunct professor of kinesiology and president of MEA Forensic Engineers and Scientists and Dr. Douglas P. Romilly, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

The AUTO21 TestDRIVE competition showcased leading edge technologies and automotive knowledge developed in part by Canadian university graduate students. As Canada’s automotive research program, AUTO21 provides funding to 40 applied R&D projects at 47 universities across the country. Close to 400 students contribute to these projects, along with nearly 200 academic researchers. Since its establishment in 2001, AUTO21 has supported more than 2,000 graduate student researchers with federal and private-sector funding.
“AUTO21’s TestDRIVE competition gives our top students an opportunity to showcase their industry-led research, while bringing leading-edge technologies one step closer to the automotive market,” said Dr. Peter Frise, Scientific Director and CEO of AUTO21. “Highly Qualified People (HQP) are the future of a critical sector in the Canadian economy. They’re the people who will design the products and operate the factories that will make it possible for Canada to compete in the automotive world.”
TestDRIVE was hosted in partnership with the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and held in conjunction with the annual general meeting of the Ontario Council of Manufacturing Executives in Toronto, Ont.
“Canada's automotive sector is one of the most influential and advanced in the country; however, it is also among the most competitive in the world," said CME President and CEO Jayson Myers. "To maintain our edge and grow our market share, Canadian companies must be global leaders in the development and commercialization of new technologies – and that starts with innovative people, innovative training, and innovative partnerships. AUTO21's TestDRIVE Competition is a great showcase of all three.”
In addition to the $10,000 scholarship, a $5,000 second place scholarship was awarded to Mahmoud Khater of the University of Waterloo for his research on micro-electromechanical systems.

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