Wheelchairs are an essential assistive device for many individuals with injury or disability. Manual wheelchairs provide a relatively low-cost solution to the mobility needs of such individuals. Furthermore, they provide an effective means of improving the user’s cardiopulmonary function and upper-limb muscle strength. However, manual wheelchairs have a gross loss of mechanical efficiency, and thus the risk of user fatigue and upper-limb injury is increased. Electric-powered wheelchairs reduce the risk of injury and provide a more convenient means of transportation. However, they have a large physical size and are relatively expensive. Accordingly, the present study utilizes a quality function deployment method to develop a wheelchair with a user-selectable manual/electric propulsion mode and an auxiliary solar power supply system. The auxiliary solar power supply increased the travel range of the wheelchair by approximately 26% compared with that of a wheelchair powered by battery alone. Moreover, the wheelchair has a modular design and can be disassembled and folded for ease of transportation or storage. Overall, the present results suggest that the proposed wheelchair provides an effective and convenient means of meeting the mobility needs of individuals with mobility difficulties.
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development|
|Publication status||Published - 2014 Jan 1|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes