Applicability of the Madymo Pedestrian Model for forensic fall analysis

More Info


Forensic reconstruction and scenario evaluation are crucial in investigations of suspicious deaths related to falls from a height. In such cases, distinguishing between accidental falls, being pushed or jumping is an important but difficult task, since objective methods to do so are currently lacking. This paper explores the possibility of repurposing a passive rigid body model of a human from commercially available crash simulation software for forensic reconstruction and scenario evaluation of humans dropping from heights. To use this approach, a prerequisite is that the human body model can produce realistic movements compared to those of a real human, given similar environmental conditions. Therefore, this study assessed the validity of the commercially available Simcenter Madymo Pedestrian Model (MPM) for simulating human fall movements. Experimental kinematic and kinetic data was collected from nine participants, who dropped from a height in three different ways: passively tilting over, getting pushed, and jumping. Next, the performance of the MPM in reproducing the kinematics of the experimental falls was assessed by comparing the orientation of the body 0.3 s after platform release. The results show that the MPM currently does not consistently reproduce the experimentally recorded falling movements across multiple falling conditions and outcome measures. The MPM must therefore be adapted if to be used for forensic reconstruction and scenario evaluation, for example by implementing active movement.