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Effect of rear suspension and speed on seat forces and head accelerations experienced by manual wheelchair riders with spinal cord injury

Philip S. Requejo, PhD, et al.

Figure. Seven load cells placed below seat and backrest frame for recording vertical (z), fore-and-aft (x), and lateral (y) seat reaction forces.

We examined whether rear wheelchair suspensions can reduce the shocks and vibrations experienced by manual wheelchair users with varying levels of spinal cord injury (SCI). We used instrumented wheelchairs and accelerometers to measure the forces transmitted from the seat and the head accelerations experienced by riders while on a vibration simulator. We determined that seat force and head accelerations were highest in the nonsuspension-type wheelchair and lowest in the spring-type suspension-frame wheelchairs; subjects with higher level SCI preferred slower speeds than subjects with lower level SCI. Suspension systems may benefit wheelchair users by reducing vibrations, especially for people with higher level SCI and less control over their posture.


Volume 45 Number 7, 2008
   Pages 985 — 996


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