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Road loads acting on manual wheelchairs

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3 Author(s)
VanSickle, D.P. ; Human Eng. Res. Labs., VA Rehabilitation Res. & Dev. Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; Cooper, R.A. ; Boninger, M.L.

A barrier to performing more in-depth analyzes during the wheelchair design process is a lack of dynamic reaction force and moment data, and the instrumentation to collect this data. Instrumentation was developed to collect the dynamic force and moment data. New data collections methodologies and analysis techniques were implemented to facilitate computer-aided-engineering for wheelchair designs. Data were collected during standardized wheelchair fatigue tests, while driving over a simulated road course within a laboratory, and while driving in the community. Seventeen subjects participated in this study. Based upon the three test conditions, a pseudo-statistical distribution of the force and moment data at both a caster and rear wheel was developed. The key parameters describing the distribution and the extremums of the data (minima and maxima) were compared using analysis of variance. The results showed that the force and moment distributions and extreme values were similar for the both sets of human trials (i.e., simulated road course and field trials). However, the standardized testing (i.e., wheelchair fatigue testing) differed from both human trials. The force/moment data gathered during this study are suitable for inputs in finite element analysis and dynamic modeling. The authors' results suggest that the fatigue tests should be modified to change the magnitude and increase the frequency of the forces and moments imparted on the wheelchair. The data reported from this study can be used to improve wheelchair standards and to facilitate computer-aided-engineering in wheelchair design

Published in:

Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 3 )