Logo for the Journal of Rehab R and D

Volume 46 Number 2, 2009
   Pages 269 — 276

Abstract - Joystick use for virtual power wheelchair driving in individuals with tremor: Pilot study

Brad E. Dicianno, MD;1-3* Sara Sibenaller, MS;2-3 Claire Kimmich;2,4 Rory A. Cooper, PhD;1-3 Jay Pyo, DO5

1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA; 2Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Department of Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA; 3Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 4Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA; 5Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, PM&R Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC

Abstract — People with disabilities such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease have difficulty operating conventional movement-sensing joysticks (MSJs) because of varying levels of tremor. We developed an isometric joystick (IJ) that has performed as well as a conventional MSJ when used by persons with upper-limb impairments in real and virtual wheelchair driving tasks. The Weighted-Frequency Fourier Linear Combiner (WFLC) filter has been used to cancel tremor effectively in microsurgery. In this study, we compared an MSJ, IJ, and IJ with the WFLC filter in individuals performing a virtual driving task. Although the WFLC filter did not improve driving performance in this study, the IJ without a filter yielded better results than the conventional MSJ and thus may be a potential alternative to the MSJ in minimizing the effects of tremor.

Key words: computer-user interface, filtering system, isometric joystick, movement-sensing joystick, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, rehabilitation, tremor, wheelchair driving performance, wheelchairs.

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