Cynthia A. Bir, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2014
For pioneering accomplishments in the field of injury prevention in weapons and sports biomechanics

College of Engineering to Honor Three Distinguished Alumni at Annual Night of the Stars

Via Wayne State | July 31, 2015

Wayne State University’s College of Engineering will recognize exemplary alumni during its annual signature event, Night of the Stars, on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Three alumni will be inducted into the College of Engineering Hall of Fame. Cynthia Bir, Bruce Hettle and Earl Shipp were selected among more than 25,000 engineering and computer science alumni who live and work in every state and in 48 countries.

“Cindy, Bruce and Earl are outstanding representatives of Wayne State, and very deserving of this honor,” said College of Engineering Dean Farshad Fotouhi. “I am also excited to bring Night of the Stars to our Midtown neighborhood at the DIA.”

Cynthia Bir, MSME 1999, Ph.D. 2000, is a professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and director of the university’s Center for Trauma, Violence & Injury Prevention. She has extensive research experience in the area of human injury tolerances. Her research interests include sports injury biomechanics, ballistic impacts, blast injury and forensic biomechanics. She has studied the effects of impacts to all regions of the body and is known worldwide for her work in this area.

Sports Science, Featuring WSU’s Cynthia Bir, Wins Award at 34th Annual Sports Emmys

Via Wayne State University Engineering | May 10, 2013

ESPN Sport Science, the popular Emmy-winning television series featuring Wayne State University Professor of Biomedical Engineering Cynthia Bir, won a Sports Emmy Award for Best New Approach on May 7, 2013. Bir was listed as a producer on the nomination. 

Tech-savvy Market Demands Crash Dummies with Smarts, Sensitivity

Via Crain's Detroit Business | December 2, 2012

The Plymouth headquarters of Humanetics Innovative Solutions Inc. is part office, part plant and part medieval torture chamber.

Specially calibrated tools perform sadistic tests — a catapult hurls dummy heads into a block of steel, a battering ram crushes rib cages and falling anvils flatten appendages.

But the tests — and the hundreds of soulless eyes peering through packing plastic at the plant — serve a higher purpose: keep actual humans safe in the event of a car crash.

Humanetics manufactures and calibrates crash test dummies for several industries, mainly automotive, and is developing new technologies to keep us all in one piece.

Discovery Channel’s Curiosity Kicks Off with Plane Crash

Via LA Times | October 7, 2012

According to executive producer Howard Swartz, the idea of crashing the plane had been in the planning stages with the production company, Dragonfly Film and Television Productions, for four years before coming to Discovery, and an additional six months of prep work once the cable channel decided to undertake the project.

“We thought the idea was bold and ambitious, but it was potentially very dangerous,” Swartz said. “We wanted to make sure it was totally buttoned-up so we didn’t needlessly risk lives unless this was going to be a valid scientific undertaking.”

The result is an unmanned 727 crashing in the desert south of Mexicali, Mexico, captured by 19 cameras positioned inside the plane and 2 on helicopters outside. The pilots parachuted from the plane in advance of the crash and left it to be controlled by remote — the same kind of remote used to guide model planes.

The Boeing 727, which was picked up for the bargain price of $450,000 (their usual selling price is in the millions), was taken to a closed-off, three-mile section of the desert away from any civilization and only a single, rarely trafficked road, which was shut down. Meaning that the “Curiosity” team was able to conduct the experiment for considerably cheaper than the only previous experiment of this kind, conducted by NASA in 1984, which resulted in the plane catching fire.

The experiment team consisted of Dr. Cindy Bir, a professor of biomedical engineering at Wayne State University; Dr. Tom Barth, an accident investigator and biomechanics engineer on the National Transportation Safety Board; and several hundred others, including a flight crew, rescue team and Mexican military securing the perimeter of the crash zone.

Watch Passenger plane Crash in Desert

Via CNN | October 2, 2012

The Discovery Channel crashes a Boeing 727 into the desert on purpose to demonstrate how to survive a plane accident.

Wayne State Prof Crashes Airplane For Science

Via CBS Detroit | October 1, 2012

Wayne State University professor and biomedical engineering researcher Cynthia Bir specializes in impacts. But her latest project undoubtedly produced the biggest bang of her career.
Back in April, teamed with an international team of researchers, pilots and aircraft safety experts, Bir crashed a full-size passenger airplane into the remote desert along the U.S.-Mexico border, all in the name of science. The project was part of the Discovery Channel’s newest series, called Curiosity.

This groundbreaking experiment looks at what actually happens during a plane crash and the science behind passengers’ best chance for survival. Crash test dummies as well as sensors throughout the plane will reveal just what types of forces are unleashed in a typical plane crash. Video footage from inside the remote-controlled plane will enable viewers to see what happens at the moment of impact.

Sports Science, Featuring WSU’s Cynthia Bir, Wins Sports Emmy

Via CBS Local | May 14, 2012

ESPN Sport Science, the TV series featuring Wayne State University Professor of Biomedical Engineering Cynthia Bir, won one of the two Sports Emmy Awards for which it was nominated this year. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced the winners at the 33rd annual Sports Emmys at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Sport Science, Featuring WSU’s Cynthia Bir, Takes Home an Award at 32nd Annual Sports Emmys

Via Wayne State University | May 5, 2011

Sport Science, the popular television series featuring Cynthia Bir, professor of biomedical engineering at Wayne State University, took home an award at the 32nd annual Sports Emmys, held May 2 at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.

The Sport Science team won a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Graphic Design. It was also nominated for Outstanding New Approaches – Sports Programming – Short Format. The show’s first two seasons earned a total of six nominations and three wins at the Sports Emmys.