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Finger Formulations: Toyota is making ‘human’ fingers out of pig skin to improve manufacturing and consumer safety

Toyota, Japan — Toyota has revealed that it has been making dummy fingers to evaluate the safety of worker and consumers’ hands around its vehicles.

The fake fingers are produced at the automaker’s headquarters in Toyota City in Aichi Prefecture in Japan, and are made from pig skin.

Development for the fingers began in 2019 in partnership with Nagoya University and Panasonic—both of which were working on similar research at the time.

Pig skin was chosen as the main material due to its similarity to human skin and its ability to be more ethically obtained. The dummy fingers also feature a metallic core that is similar in strength to a human finger bone.

In order to create a diverse range of safety coverage and data, the fingers are designed to not only replicate adult men, but also women and seniors of both sexes.

Takeo Mori, Manager, Manufacturing Engineering Department, Elemental Technology Development Office, commented that the artificial fingers are “for the safety of everyone working on site. As humans and robots become closer together, there is a growing concern about the safety risks to workers’ hands.”

Mori further acknowledged that “many automobile parts are hard or sharp. There is also a lot of detailed work, and we needed a tool that could assess the degree of finger entrapment in small surface areas. With a finger dummy, you can visually adjust the force of the machine to a level that ensures safety.”

Mori concluded that “[Toyota] also hopes to improve safety not only at manufacturing sites but also for our customers, such as by evaluating when a finger is caught in a car door.”

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