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Injury Prevention Engineering Research Team (IPERT)

Since 1960, unintentional injuries have been the number one cause of death of children between the ages of one and nineteen years old. Childhood injuries, specifically those related to consumer products, have recently drawn more attention in Japan and many other countries. The Injury Prevention Engineering Research Team (IPERT) is aiming to develop technologies to prevent consumer product-related injuries among children, and then will expand its efforts to other areas of injury prevention. IPERT has been collaborating with a wide range of governmental agencies and local municipalities, industries, medical institutions, and other stakeholders to create social systems which enable anyone in society to utilize the developed technologies, and to benefit from the technologies and safer consumer products.

To achieve the goal, in 2006, the Digital Human Research Center proposed the model of the "Safety Knowledge Circulating Society" and has been working to implement the model for injury prevention research and applications. The model conceptualizes an ideal cycle of safety knowledge from the injury occurrence to preventing similar injury occurrences. The cycle starts with injury surveillance to collect injury data which is practically useful in injury prevention, not just in counting injuries. Collected data will be used to construct mathematical models of injuries and human behaviors related to injuries. The models will help legislators, product designers, manufacturers, and others to design and develop safety products, accumulate and disseminate safety knowledge, and create social systems to advocate safety and injury prevention. Lastly, effective risk communication methodologies and technologies will be established to help the society better communicate about risks inherent in consumer products, and about safety knowledge. This Safety Knowledge Circulating will never stop: rather, as the cycle continues it improves the quality of knowledge and technology continuously.