A doll that was originally designed for use in car crash tests is about to be used as a research tool by forensic scientists who are studying brain damage. The Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Oslo is studying “shaken baby syndrome” and the relationship between shaking and brain damage. Scientists at SINTEF ICT have installed accelerometers inside the head of the doll in order to measure the forces caused by shaking and impacts with solid surfaces.
The measurements will be stored on a computer for subsequent analysis at SINTEF. In Norway around 15 babies are severely shaken by their parents every year, and about one third of them are left with serious long-term injuries. Court cases often have to be unresolved due to lack of sufficient evidence. The forensic medical scientists hope that this situation will soon change.