Almost Human: Trauma Mannequins for Medic Training

They breathe and they bleed, but they’re not real human beings. These robots, built by the especial effects and fabrication experts at Kernerworks, are incredibly lifelike trauma mannequins used by the military to train field medics. We visit Kernerworks’ workshop to learn how these robots are built and get a demo of their trauma simulation capabilities. See photos from our visit here.

Comments (22)

22 thoughts on “Almost Human: Trauma Mannequins for Medic Training

  1. That was interesting and disgusting all at the same time.

    Thanks for showing us around their shop, Norm..

    I would like to add that there was a good example of a ‘Tension Pneumothorax’ shown in the movie, Three Kings..

  2. I remember Jamie talking about working on this type of thing in a panel discussion, good to see that his work ended up kicking off a full-on business that helps save lives.

  3. That was really fascinating! We’ve come a long way from the CPR dummies of the 60s.

    This reminds me, I would love to see something about the simulated cadavers that Adam and Jamie have used a couple of times in the show, notably the dead body disposal episode. Those look amazingly detailed and complex.

  4. I would love to see something about the simulated cadavers that Adam and Jamie have used a couple of times in the show, notably the dead body disposal episode. Those look amazingly detailed and complex.

    I second that.

  5. Nope. Nope, nope, nope. Important work and amazing technique, but I am not equipped to be lookin’ at that. I’ll have to bury this window while it plays and pretend this one’s a podcast. 🙂

  6. I have actually been trained with a older model while I was in the USAF and even then it was very odd to work with and a bit unnerving to train with. But in the long run i did its job to prepare me for my job as a EMT

  7. When we are training new EMt’s at the hospital where I work, we normally paint up people with the different injuries so that the students get used to interacting with a patient, but that means they can’t do all of the actual treatments like putting in an airway, tourniqueting a limb, or performing CPR. These are rather impressive and I would love to see these being used for civilian training.

  8. Wow, this was awesome and this is the type of content I’ve come to really love from Tested. I love these on-location show and tell type stuff.

  9. Wow, that was so interesting. More videos like these, please.

    I also wonder why they don’t use these in hospitals. Do doctors training to do maneuvers like one where you put a tube down their throat work on cadavers or only live people?

  10. Wow, that was so interesting. More videos like these, please.

    I also wonder why they don’t use these in hospitals. Do doctors training to do maneuvers like one where you put a tube down their throat work on cadavers or only live people?

    These units are extremely expensive. Even basic models, without a quarter of the animatronics, cost a lot of money that med schools don’t necessarily want to pay. Usually doctors will practice on cheaper plastic models without the feedback that these units provide, and then it’s a lot of observing and praying you don’t mess up when you do get to work on real people.

    I am impressed with the amount of feedback and responsiveness from the sensors. That’s what frustrated me about working on dummies- the feedback was inconsistent, and for half of it you had to pretend or have verbal feedback from an examiner, and the other half was whatever the dummy was actually doing. I’m excited to see this evolve and become more available.

  11. I do asset management at a state university with a nursing program, so I’ve inventoried rooms full of mannequins like these and it’s super weird. Especially the babies.

    Wow, that was so interesting. More videos like these, please.

    I also wonder why they don’t use these in hospitals. Do doctors training to do maneuvers like one where you put a tube down their throat work on cadavers or only live people?

    These units are extremely expensive. Even basic models, without a quarter of the animatronics, cost a lot of money that med schools don’t necessarily want to pay. Usually doctors will practice on cheaper plastic models without the feedback that these units provide, and then it’s a lot of observing and praying you don’t mess up when you do get to work on real people.

    I am impressed with the amount of feedback and responsiveness from the sensors. That’s what frustrated me about working on dummies- the feedback was inconsistent, and for half of it you had to pretend or have verbal feedback from an examiner, and the other half was whatever the dummy was actually doing. I’m excited to see this evolve and become more available.

    I can confirm this. The ones I’ve seen that the school of nursing uses cost something like eight grand a piece and they’re nowhere near as advanced as these.

  12. Wow, that was so interesting. More videos like these, please.

    I also wonder why they don’t use these in hospitals. Do doctors training to do maneuvers like one where you put a tube down their throat work on cadavers or only live people?

    Just to answer, you can’t put an airway in a conscious patient because of the gag reflex that they will have. Also if you try to put an airway into a patient with a gag reflex and do enough damage to the vagus nerve at the back of the throat you can actually kill the patient because the heart will stop contracting.

    Not sure about doctor’s but nurses/paramedics have to practice most of their skills on each other, unless it’s a skill that can’t be practiced on a conscious patient then they use dummies.

  13. Wow, that was so interesting. More videos like these, please.

    I also wonder why they don’t use these in hospitals. Do doctors training to do maneuvers like one where you put a tube down their throat work on cadavers or only live people?

    I’m a doctor and my training institutions did have pretty advanced simulation centers with models that seem similar to these that breathe, blink, and “talk”. Not sure if my models have all the biofeedback sensors that these do though.

    But while in general we may have one or two simulation exercises, for the most part doctors practice procedures on live people. We have the old saying “watch one, do one, teach one”. To make you feel better, students and residents are always supervised, of course. And doctors will only do procedures they feel comfortable doing. Most doctors don’t do intubations; usually it’s the ER/MICU/SICU physicians or the respiratory team

  14. These units are extremely expensive. Even basic models, without a quarter of the animatronics, cost a lot of money that med schools don’t necessarily want to pay. Usually doctors will practice on cheaper plastic models without the feedback that these units provide, and then it’s a lot of observing and praying you don’t mess up when you do get to work on real people.

    I am impressed with the amount of feedback and responsiveness from the sensors. That’s what frustrated me about working on dummies- the feedback was inconsistent, and for half of it you had to pretend or have verbal feedback from an examiner, and the other half was whatever the dummy was actually doing. I’m excited to see this evolve and become more available.

    Just to answer, you can’t put an airway in a conscious patient because of the gag reflex that they will have. Also if you try to put an airway into a patient with a gag reflex and do enough damage to the vagus nerve at the back of the throat you can actually kill the patient because the heart will stop contracting.

    Not sure about doctor’s but nurses/paramedics have to practice most of their skills on each other, unless it’s a skill that can’t be practiced on a conscious patient then they use dummies.

    I’m a doctor and my training institutions did have pretty advanced simulation centers with models that seem similar to these that breathe, blink, and “talk”. Not sure if my models have all the biofeedback sensors that these do though.

    But while in general we may have one or two simulation exercises, for the most part doctors practice procedures on live people. We have the old saying “watch one, do one, teach one”. To make you feel better, students and residents are always supervised, of course. And doctors will only do procedures they feel comfortable doing. Most doctors don’t do intubations; usually it’s the ER/MICU/SICU physicians or the respiratory team

    It must be pretty scary when you have to do a procedure the first time on a living person to save their life. I’ve thought about how I would personally never be able to be a doctor since I would second guess everything and be too scared of messing up. Also, seeing needles and surgical knives go into flesh in movies always makes me cringe.

  15. Hi guys! Thanks for all the interesting comments and feedback.

    Also, thanks so much to Tested and to Jaimie and Adam for showcasing Kernerworks!

    Eric @ Kernerworks

  16. I would be up for that. I have been thinking about getting in touch with the producers of “How it’s Made” to show off our very weird production process.

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