top of page
  • Nico Samaniego

Humanetics - Day 1

Keeping People Safe Through Innovation


Have you ever thought: "where in the world do all the crash test dummies come from?" The answer is here in Erie Country. Humanetics, originally known as Alderson Research Laboratories, was founded in 1952 by Sam Alderson. The company soon won a contract to create an anthropomorphic dummy for testing air and spacecraft ejection seats, helmets and restraint systems. Until then, the standard test protocols used flour sacks and sandbags. Headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Humanetics has six locations across the U.S., and has offices in 11 other countries. Since 1991, Humanetics has been in Erie County, Ohio. Their Huron, Ohio branch is the sole manufacturer for the world-renowned crash test dummies. Only a quarter of what they manufacturer stays in the U.S., the rest ships all over the globe. Mark Brown, the Product Marketing Manager for Humanetics stated, “Erie County has been able to give us a great workforce over the years. Our area is filled with smart, talented people.” Throughout its history, and continuing today, Humanetics has been key to the development and manufacturing of a complete range of test dummies. These include side-impact, rear-impact, children, pedestrian models, and more—plus the Test device for Human Occupant Restraint, or THOR, the next generation in dummy biofidelity, instrumentation, repeatability, durability and user-friendliness. When we look at the history of vehicle crash testing, women weren't in the driver’s seat of many motor vehicles. And they certainly weren’t flying many military aircraft. When test crash dummies were invented, they were made with the male body in mind. So, with the social norm of the male driver ingrained, automotive test dummies were engineered with mechanics and anthropometry of men. In fact, much of the data used to model these test dummies was collected from military surveys of enlistees, which of course at the time, were majority male.

Fast Facts

  • Over 90% of all test dummies in the world are manufactured out of Huron, Oh.

  • Humanetics has 40+ models ranging from newborn to heavier adult models.


Fast forward to today. Previous gender biases are being addressed with the new addition of the THOR-5F model. This advanced female frontal impact dummy is designed from actual female anthropometry data, which means she reflects the anatomy of a female driver. Her technology is the most advanced ever produced. Plus, she has 150 sensor channels that are designed to address those parts of the body where women have increased vulnerability to injury. For example, with shorter legs than males, women are 80% more likely to suffer severe leg injuries in the event of a crash. Humanetics has also played a key role as a community partner and contributing business over the years. They continue to promote the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses by offering tours to our local educational institutions like Bowling Green State University Firelands and EHOVE Career Center. Recently, they’ve opened their doors to more than forty teachers and guidance counselors in our county during the Erie County Business Advisory Council’s Teacher Business Boot Camp. This gave educators a firsthand experience of the various job opportunities for local students. This is a key function of Firelands Forward and the Business Advisory Council as they look to retain talent in our community.

The work being done at Humanetics is astounding. The products they produce make impacts both literally and figuratively. Using National Safety Council (NSC) estimates, the preventable tragedies translate to an economic cost of over $2 billion in 2018. The non-economic costs are immeasurable. Humanetics reports that one THOR-5F can take 3-6 months to produce and can retail for over $1 million. On behalf of our team at ECEDC, we congratulate Humanetics for continuing to be a trailblazer in the world of engineering and safety.






Did You Know? Forecasts indicate a large deficit in the number of workers available for essential jobs in our economy. The Teacher Business Bootcamp and the Erie County Business Advisory Council was formed to address this specific problem. By connecting educational institutions and industries in Erie County, we can develop programming to begin to address this problem with various solutions. Exposing the benefits of these opportunities to educational institutions and their students is the first step in ensuring these jobs get filled. To learn more or join the conversation contact us today.


← Checkout Where They Are Now Learn More about Humanetics Stay Tuned for Day 2: Christina's Creations



The 12 Days of Development email series recognizes and celebrates another year of progress in Erie County, Ohio. December 1st - 12th, you will receive a email spotlight on a company investing, improving and innovating in our community. We can't capture it all, so let us know a neighbor we missed or what activities you've got planned

to make the 2022 list! #ErieCounty12Days





bottom of page