Does Sideways Movement Increase Mobility and Maneuverability of a Powered Wheelchair?
Keywords: Mobility, powered wheelchair, sideways, maneuverability, independence
In collaboration with: Centre for Studies in Aging, Sunnybrook Women's College Health Science centre
Overview of Research
The ability for powered wheelchair users to manoeuvre in an indoor environment is often challenging because of the small spaces and the effort required to complete daily tasks. We are investigating whether the sideways movement capabilities of the Rocket powered wheelchair help to reduce this required effort.
Preliminary trials were conducted which compared the reaching ability of a user as a function of access width. Four powered wheelchairs, including the Rocket, were tested. The user was able to reach the farthest along a counter top in a four foot corridor when using the sideways capability of the Rocket. Results showing reaching performance as a function of access width will be presented.
The next stage of this project is to observe the performance of the Rocket in a home setting in order to determine the effects of sideways movement on the completion of activities of daily living. Disabled, non-wheelchair users will be taught to operate the Rocket and one other wheelchair in their own home environment. They will be asked to perform a series of tasks in each room and data will be collected to determine the perceived effort of each user. Other measurements that prove to be useful in determining the mobility and manoeuvrability of a wheelchair will also be developed and tested during these trials.
Pam Holliday, M.Sc. (Centre for Studies in Aging)
Alex Mihailidis, Ph.D. P.Eng. (University of Toronto)
Rob Rolfson (University of Toronto)
Geoff Fernie, Ph.D. P.Eng. (Toronto Rehabilitation Institute)