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Development of a Surrogate Bruising Detection System to Describe Bruising Patterns Associated with Common Childhood Falls, Executive Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2012
5 pages
This is the executive summary of a report on a project that designed and developed a prototype surrogate bruising-detection device capable of predicting potential bruising patterns in children when adapted to a test dummy.
The test dummy can be used to simulate common household falls that may be falsely determined to be evidence of child abuse. The prototype surrogate uses custom-designed, low-cost force sensors integrated into matrices incorporated into a "skin" that adapts to a commercial 1-year-old test dummy. A data acquisition system captures and records force sensor output and location during a simulated fall or other event. A computerized body-mapping system displays color-coded sensor output that indicates the level of applied force to specific body regions, along with the location where the force is applied. The device can predict potential bruising numbers, patterns, and location when adapted to a child test dummy used in simulations of falls or other events. Matrices of individual force-sensing, restive sensors were designed and fabricated in-house so as to adapt to each body segment of the test dummy. These sensor matrices were enveloped between neoprene layers to form sensing skins. Data from the sensors were acquired through a custom-designed data-acquisition system. The data were compiled in a computerized 3D visual body-map image capable of displaying the areas of contact or impact that represent potential bruising or soft-tissue injury. This body-map image provides a "roadmap" of the child surrogate's contact exposure during a specific event. Bruising patterns are critical to biomechanical expert witness testimony in child injury litigation, providing key evidentiary data in the assessment of the biodynamic compatibility of a stated cause and resulting injuries. The cumulative number of bruises and their location has been shown to aid in the discrimination between abuse and accident in children.

Date Published: November 1, 2012