Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

Hit Parade

November 8, 2007

Dummies are, on the whole, passive servants of our bidding. They will wear what we ask and sit when they are told. There is one, however, that has to be told quite firmly. In fact, it is asking to be hit. Often.
This manikin is called SlamMan. We came across it in a barn in Kent, England. It’s fully-wired and includes a microchip, which is the nearest a dummy can get to having a brain.
This gives it just enough intelligence to switch on different lights around its torso and head, showing exactly where it wants to be hit. Or maybe the lights go on wherever it is hit. We don’t know for sure because half of its wiring was hanging out so we couldn’t try it out.

The dummy that likes to be hit from


SlamMan is the docile training partner for solitary martial arts practitioners. It gives them the opportunity to improve their reactions and the accuracy of their punches, thumps, slaps and kicks.

To be fair, it shouldn’t really have a place in this blog because, despite its undoubted resilience, it is clearly only half a man. The top half, to be precise. But it looks so peculiar, like a punch-drunk boxer who’s lost all awareness of where he is, that he deserves a little recognition because he could never, ever, be a contender.


Heavy lifting

November 1, 2007

Emergency service staff have always trained hard to work efficiently under extreme conditions. Now they can practice rescuing extremely overweight people with a training dummy weighing 28 stone (178 kg).

It’s made by the same people who produce the rather slimmer marine rescue training dummy we featured in Wet and is designed to be carried by up to six people. According to the company’s web site, “Obesity is a very real problem in the UK and across the world and judging by government figures the problem is getting worse, [so] rescue teams will need to consider how they will deal with casualties of this size and this dummy will enable realistic training to take place. We have worked very hard to achieve a ‘fluidity of movement’ with the weight rather than just producing a heavy ‘lump’, so we think it will be very realistic to work with.”

One day we hope to meet this fat manequin in person, properly described as “bariatric”, but, until then, we’ll have to be satisfied with these strangely unsettling pictures, courtesy of the svelt people at Ruth Lee Ltd and the BBC.

Too fat to stand


Obese dummy for emergency services at quitehuman

Obese dummy in sling from quitehuman

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Heavy breathing

October 29, 2007

It seems, from the comments we’ve been getting, that inanimate dummies evoke sympathy. What’s wrong with you people? Dummies are slightly creepy artifacts made by humans to help us in one way or the other. They’re not some cute cuddlesome honeybun. It’s the people who have to work with them that should be getting the sympathy.

Take Annie, for example. She’s the one on the right. She’s a resuscitation training doll used to show volunteers how to bring cardiac arrest sufferers back to life from their near death experiences. The lady on the left, a wonderful member of the marvelous St John Ambulance, has to blow into Annie’s mouth and beat her chest more frequently and forcefully than is decent.

And no matter how hard she’s tried over the years, she has never yet managed to bring Annie back to life. Nor have the hundreds of trainees who’ve also pumped and thumped the manikin.

So who deserves the sympathy here? The ungrateful rubber effigy or the hard-working instructor?

Mind you, Annie is about to get what she deserves. Health & Safety officials have deemed her too heavy so lighter versions are taking her place. And the dumb blond will be locked in a suitcase for the rest of eternity. Aaaah.

Annie the resuscitation doll from quitehuman


September 26, 2007

Antony Gormley has been making copies of himself for decades, including an inspired life size silhouette made of sliced white bread. Recently there were dozens of his sculptures on the tops of buildings in central London, “watching” and being observed, as part of his Blind Light installation hosted by The Hayward. While that project was in development, and while he was finalising the design for the 25 metre high Waste Man for The Margate Exodus event, he gave us some time to take this portrait of the artist with a 3D pixellated metal version of himself in his north London studio.

Antony Gormley and his pixellated self, from

There are many people who work with life-size human forms – dummies, manikins, statues, phantoms. We are documenting them in portraits and words and will post them to this blog every week. Here are clips from some which will soon be posted in full.

Detail of blonde dummy head from Detail of man who works with dummies, from Detail of phantom holding hand in front of face, from


September 17, 2007

Jim Cunningham saves the life of this dummy every working day – sometimes in a training pool, sometimes in the open sea. The dummy is also saved by trainees. It is the same weight and size as a human and is equally awkward to man-handle in water. Trainees in the marine industries learn how to rescue the dummy and strap it to the yellow stretcher. Jim kindly gave us 10 minutes to take their portraits as they were being transferred from the training pool to the quayside in the back of a van. sea rescue.jpg