Trauma dummy creator
Trauma dummy creator
Eric Edmeades' trauma dummies help soldiers practice on fake injuries.
Owner(s): Eric Edmeades

A dummy covered in lifelike skin that twitches and shakes and bleeds profusely when its leg is amputated sounds like a spine-tingling Halloween prop. But it is actually a tool created to save the lives of American military personnel on battlefields.

The idea started with Jamie Hyneman, host of The Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters," who brought it to former colleagues who were working at Kernerworks, which was owned by Eric Edmeades.

Edmeades had experience with special effects. So did his employees, some of whom helped develop the creatures in Hollywood blockbusters "Men In Black" and "Star Wars."

Once the idea was explained to him, Edmeades opened Kernerworks in 2010, with $10,000 to take on the continued design, development and manufacture of trauma trainers. The company expects next year's revenue to hit $2 million, and to generate even more sales through its partnership with Florida-based military contractor KGS.

Kernerworks has two main divisions -- one that develops and tests prototypes and another that manufactures them.

The trauma trainer dummies are literally a life-saving product. One of the most common battlefield injuries suffered by soldiers in recent wars is leg amputation caused by stepping on an IED (improvised explosive device). The explosive often severs the femoral artery, causing the soldier to bleed out within 90 seconds -- too short a space of time to call for a medic. Usually it is a fellow soldier who deals with the situation. Any panic on their part or misapplied tourniquet could spell the end for the wounded soldier.

The trauma trainer "kicks and writhes and bleeds like a real person and continues to bleed until a tourniquet is applied correctly," said Edmeades. "This allows the responder to gain valuable practical experience that saves lives in the field."

Correction: An earlier version of this gallery incorrectly stated that Edmeades had experience working on special effects for "Men in Black" and "Star Wars."


By Kitt Walsh, contributing writer @CNNMoney - Last updated December 09 2011: 11:12 AM ET
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