UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Comparison of Manual Wheelchair and Pushrim-Activated Power-Assisted Wheelchair Propulsion Characteristics during Common Over-Ground Maneuvers Khalili, Mahsa; Kryt, Garrett; Mortenson, W. Ben; Van der Loos, Hendrik F. Machiel; Borisoff, Jaimie


Pushrim-activated power-assisted wheels (PAPAWs) are assistive technologies that use force sensor data to provide on-demand propulsion assistance to manual wheelchair users. However, available data about kinetic and kinematic of PAPAW use are mainly limited to experiments performed on a treadmill or using a dynamometer. In this work, we performed experiments to gather kinetics of wheelchair propulsion and kinematics of wheelchair motion for a variety of over-ground wheelchair maneuvers with a manual wheelchair with and without PAPAWs. Our findings revealed that using PAPAWs can significantly reduce the propulsion effort and push frequency. Both linear and angular velocities of the wheelchair were significantly increased when using PAPAWs. Less force and push frequency could potentially reduce risk of chronic upper limb injury. Higher linear velocity could be desirable for various daily life activities; however; the increase in the angular velocity could lead to unintended deviations from a desired path. Future research could investigate PAPAW controllers that amplify the desired intentions of users while mitigating any unwanted behaviours.

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