Aston University and Simulation Man launch overweight manikin for health and medical student training

Press/Media: Teaching


  • Two manikins, jointly developed by Aston University College of Health and Life Sciences and Simulation Man, will be produced 
  • With a quarter of adults in England living with obesity, this world-first realistic overweight manikin will be a vital training tool 
  • The female manikin, dubbed R42, was launched at the Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare (ASPiH) conference in Brighton.

Aston University College of Health and Life Sciences and Simulation Man have jointly launched a new, overweight female manikin for use in training nursing, pharmacy and medical students.

R42, so named as it represents the 42% of the US population who are overweight, is a realistic shape, rather than having a flat back, to better simulate an overweight patient, and has breasts. It will be used to train nursing, pharmacy, physician associate and medical students at Aston University to carry out medical procedures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), intubation, inserting IV lines and catheterisation, as well as for manual handling.

Typically available manikins used to train students for medical procedures are slim, but such procedures can be more difficult in patients carrying weight, or having breasts. Manual handling overweight manikins, meanwhile, are often little more than beanbags. R42, however, has an internal skeleton to make it more realistic to move and handle. Students can therefore learn how to care for and move larger patients with dignity. 

According to the latest statistics from NHS England, 63.8% of adults in England are overweight, with 25.9% of those classified as living with obesity. Adverse incidents relating to patient safety double with overweight and obese patients so better training is vital. 

The collaboration between Aston University and Simulation Man to develop an overweight manikin resulted from a call made by Professor Liz Moores, Deputy Dean of the College of Health and Life Sciences, to Jacob Rahman at Simulation Man, asking for an overweight manikin. In the absence of such a manikin, Rahman suggested working on one together. He believes that R42 is the world’s first overweight training manikin that looks and feels realistic.

Professor Moores says: 

“Lots of patients are overweight so it's useful to have experience with overweight patients. As a female obese manikin, this manikin also has large breasts. We want our students to know how to resuscitate people irrespective of body type. 

“Whilst diversity in manikins has already extended to skin tone, age and more recently certain disabilities, there are no realistic looking and feeling obese manikins available in the UK. The development of R42 is really important.”

Rahman says:

“This will be a global product. I think we have thus far really underestimated the impact and global reach this will have. The key aspect is students will learn how to have empathy with obese patients, how to be inclusive, and to make sure that they are aware of unconscious bias. There is a case for every medical and nursing university in the world to have one.”

The R42 manikin was officially launched at the Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare (ASPiH) conference, held in Brighton from 6 to 8 November 2023. The first R42 manikin will be installed at Aston University for students to use before the end of 2023, with a second in early 2024.

Period9 Nov 2023 → 23 Nov 2023

Media coverage


Media coverage