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What's the difference between a Manikin and a Mannequin

We’re all familiar with the human shaped plastic dolls located at our store fronts called mannequins. They are used to show people how clothing will look on a specific body type. I’m sure you have seen many kinds of mannequins but did you know there are 18 styles and types of mannequins used for stores? All of these types and styles are used to simulate how clothing will look on a sexy, sporty, or even pregnant body type. But what are Manikins?

Manikin’s are similar to mannequins where they are human shaped models used to simulate the human body. Instead of being used to show off clothing, manikins are used to help simulate medical, surgical, or clinical scenarios. There are many types of manikins used for medical simulation. They can range from High fidelity to low, which represents how realistic the manikin is. A high-fidelity manikin consists of the latest technology. These manikins will move, speak, react, and give facial expressions. A low-fidelity manikin is much simpler without the nice complicated technology.

The purpose of these manikins is to give students, healthcare givers, and surgeons a safe environment to learn and practice their skills, without the use of a live patient. A high-fidelity manikin would be used to learn how to deal with a patient who is coding or was a part of deadly incident. A low-fidelity manikin would be used to teach students how to insert an IV or how to perform CPR. Just like mannequins, there are many styles and types of manikins used for different kinds of simulations. There are birthing simulators, newborn simulators, simulators that go into cardiac arrest, and even dental simulators. The simulation center at OHSU goes into detail about many of these simulations.

Both manikins and mannequins act as human simulators. Their uses are a bit different but why are their names very similar? The word comes from the Dutch term “manneken”, which literally means “little man”. The French form of the word, mannequin, was used in English to mean “artificial man”. Store front mannequins were later introduced as artificial models to display clothing. The first manikin, Resusci – Anne was designed in the early 1960’s by Asmund Laerdal, a successful Norwegian manufacturer of plastic toys. Resusci-Anne was designed for teaching how to perform CPR. The medical simulation industry has come a long way since Resusci-Anne was born. Today, high-fidelity manikins are capable of simulating lifelike emotions through dynamic facial expressions, movement, and speech. Gaumard unveiled an advanced pediatric simulator at IMSH 2018 with all of these impressive capabilities.

Next time someone asks you, “How do you spell Manikin?” You can confidently respond, “which kind of manikin?” and share all the interesting new facts you just learned.

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