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Development of transportable wheelchair design criteria using computer crash simulation

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3 Author(s)
G. E. Bertocci ; Rehabilitation Eng. Res. Center, Pittsburgh Univ., PA, USA ; D. A. Hobson ; K. H. Digges

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has led to an increase in disabled travelers, many of whom are unable to transfer to a vehicle seat and are required to use their wheelchair to fulfill this function. ANSI/RESNA is currently developing a transportable wheelchair standard which will identify design requirements and testing methods for wheelchairs suitable for transport. Wheelchair manufacturers should begin to modify their existing design criteria established for a normal mobility function to design criteria appropriate for a transportation function which may subject the wheelchair to large dynamic crash forces. A thorough understanding of the crash environment and its effect on the wheelchair is necessary to insure the safety of the wheelchair user. To assist manufacturers in the design effort, this study uses mathematical crash simulations to evaluate loads imposed upon a wheelchair when subjected to a 48 kph/20 g frontal crash. Using a four-point belt tiedown system to secure the wheelchair, securement point, seat, lap belt anchor, and wheel loads are evaluated under three different securement configurations. Results show that positioning of rear securement points near the wheelchair center of gravity can serve as an effective strategy for managing crash response and loadings on the wheelchair. Force ranges for each of the evaluated parameters, derived for a 50th percentile male using a simulated power wheelchair, are provided for use as a preliminary guide when designing transportable wheelchairs

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Rehabilitation Engineering  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 3 )