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How many people would benefit from a smart wheelchair?

Richard C. Simpson, PhD, ATP, et al.

Both children and adults benefit from access to a means of independent mobility, but not everyone who needs a wheelchair, particularly veterans, is able to operate one safely and effectively. For example, a veteran who exhibits upper-limb intention tremor may have trouble with tasks that require fine motor control, a veteran with a high-level spinal cord injury may have trouble seeing and avoiding obstacles behind the wheelchair, and a veteran with multiple sclerosis may have difficulty completing long navigation tasks because of fatigue. To accommodate users who have trouble operating a wheelchair independently, researchers have used technologies developed for mobile robots to create "smart wheelchairs" that offer a range of functions to meet different needs. This article estimates the number of individuals in the United States who could benefit from a smart wheelchair, based on previously published population estimates.

Volume 45 Number 1, 2008
   Pages 53 — 72


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