Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 51 Number 6, 2014
   Pages 951 — 962

Abstract — Preliminary evaluation of a variable compliance joystick for people with multiple sclerosis

Harshal P. Mahajan, PhD;1–2 Donald M. Spaeth, PhD;1 Brad E. Dicianno, MD;1,3* Karl Brown, MS;1 Rory A. Cooper, PhD1–3

1Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA; Departments of 2Rehabilitation Science and Technology and 3Bioengineering and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Abstract — Upper-limb fatigue is a common problem that may restrict people with multiple sclerosis (MS) from using their electric powered wheelchair effectively and for a long period of time. The objective of this research is to evaluate whether participants with MS can drive better with a variable compliance joystick (VCJ) and customizable algorithms than with a conventional wheelchair joystick. Eleven participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The groups used the VCJ in either compliant or noncompliant isometric mode and a standard algorithm, personally fitted algorithm, or personally fitted algorithm with fatigue adaptation running in the background in order to complete virtual wheelchair driving tasks. Participants with MS showed better driving performance metrics while using the customized algorithms than while using the standard algorithm with the VCJ. Fatigue adaptation algorithms are especially beneficial in improving overall task performance while using the VCJ in isometric mode. The VCJ, along with the personally fitted algorithms and fatigue adaptation algorithms, has the potential to be an effective input interface for wheelchairs.

Key words: fatigue, joystick, MS, multiple sclerosis, outcome measures, tremor filter, variable compliance joystick, virtual reality, wheelchair, wheelchair driving.


View HTML ¦ View PDF ¦ Contents Vol. 51, No.6

This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Mahajan HP, Spaeth DM, Dicianno BE, Brown K, Cooper RA. Preliminary evaluation of a variable compliance joystick for people with multiple sclerosis. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2014;51(6):951–62.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2013.01.0023
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