Volume 48 Number 7, 2011
Pages 801 — 822
Abstract — Many older adults in long-term-care homes have complex physical and cognitive impairments and have difficulty propelling manual wheelchairs. Power wheelchair use is restricted owing to safety concerns. Power wheelchairs with collision-avoidance features are being developed to enable safe and independent mobility; however, a paucity of information exists on interface features to help users navigate away from obstacles. We developed a system combining an interface with auditory, visual, and haptic feedback and a simulated collision-avoidance power wheelchair. This device allowed the investigator to stop movement of the power wheelchair when users approached obstacles and to deliver feedback to help them navigate. Five long-term-care home residents with mild or moderate cognitive impairments evaluated device usability, which included effectiveness, efficiency, and user satisfaction. Each resident used the device for six 1 h sessions. Observations, feedback interviews, and outcome questionnaires were completed during and after the sessions. We found the device effective in enabling residents to achieve basic driving tasks and self-identified indoor mobility goals. Furthermore, residents perceived workload to be low and were satisfied with the device. Residents also felt that the feedback was useful to help them navigate away from obstacles.
Key words: auditory feedback, cognitive impairment, collision-avoidance power wheelchair, haptic, joystick, long-term-care home, multimodal feedback, older adult, power mobility, smart power wheelchair, usability, user interface, user satisfaction, visual feedback.
Last Reviewed or Updated Thursday, August 18, 2011 12:43 PM