Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D

Volume 45 Number 1, 2008
   Pages 53 — 72

Abstract - How many people would benefit from a smart wheelchair?

Richard C. Simpson, PhD, ATP;1-2* Edmund F. LoPresti, PhD;3 Rory A. Cooper, PhD1-2

1Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 2Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Department of Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA; 3AT Sciences, Pittsburgh, PA

Abstract — Independent mobility is important, but some wheelchair users find operating existing manual or powered wheelchairs difficult or impossible. Challenges to safe, independent wheelchair use can result from various overlapping physical, perceptual, or cognitive symptoms of diagnoses such as spinal cord injury, cerebrovascular accident, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and cerebral palsy. Persons with different symptom combinations can benefit from different types of assistance from a smart wheelchair and different wheelchair form factors. The sizes of these user populations have been estimated based on published estimates of the number of individuals with each of several diseases who (1) also need a wheeled mobility device and (2) have specific symptoms that could interfere with mobility device use.

Key words: assistive technology, cognitive impairment, human-machine systems, physical impairment, rehabilitation, robotics, smart wheelchairs, wheelchairs, wheeled mobility, veterans, visual impairment.

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