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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.26 SNIP: 0.375 CiteScore™: 1.4

ISSN Imprimir: 0278-940X
ISSN En Línea: 1943-619X

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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.v27.i1-2.20
pages 27-73

Engineering Manual and Electric Powered Wheelchairs

Rory A. Cooper
Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System; and Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh; PA

SINOPSIS

The sophistication required to develop and properly configure a wheelchair is illustrated by the amount and complexity of the research being conducted. At this time there appears to be between 1.5 and 2.0 million full-time wheelchair users within the United States. The reliance of the user on the wheelchair and the amount of time in the wheelchair provide significant challenges for the wheelchair design engineer. Currently there are a wide variety of wheelchair designs that are commercially available. These wheelchairs accommodate a variety of people's needs, and represent significant progress. The current trend among manufacturers of manual wheelchairs seems to be costreduction engineering. The ergonomics of long-term wheelchair use are critical to the advancement of wheelchair design and to the clinical selection of wheelchairs. Electric powered wheelchairs appear to be progressing faster than nearly all other types of wheelchairs. This is due to the availability of computing power with low cost microcontrollers and associated peripherals. The greater range and availability of sensors are also making changes into the design of electric powered wheelchairs. The interaction between an electric powered wheelchair and the user can be extremely complex. In many cases, individual solutions are necessary. One of the more challenging questions is determining the abilities of the user required to drive an electric powered wheelchair effectively. There have been substantial improvements in the engineering of all wheelchairs. However, there remain significant issues to be addressed.


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