Volume 4 Issue 4

Authors: Yasuaki Sumida; Katsuya Matsunaga; Kazuaki Goshi; Kazunori Shidoji

Abstract: It is important for manual wheelchair users to be able to move independently in order to maintain good quality of life. To be able to move independently, users should know the route on which they can move based on their physical strength in order to move a manual wheelchair. This paper proposes a system to estimate the wheelchair handrim force necessary to move on roads of many kinds. To support outdoor activities by wheelchair users, a measurement device is developed to measure a wheelchair user’s physical strength to move a manual wheelchair. The measurement device, which measures the applied handrim force during movement, is composed primarily of strain gauges, amplifiers, and a microprocessor. Results indicate that the measured handrim force and the physical strength when moving a wheelchair are mutually related. Additionally, the device can evaluate the physical strength necessary for wheelchair movement based on measurements of the handrim force. Traditional measurement methods may be superior for detailed physical strength evaluation; however, the wheelchair user’s handrim force can be measured in a few minutes with this simple measurement device using the methods implemented in this study. Moreover, the developed measurement device does not require a large treadmill or ergometer. This research will contribute to the measurement of the physical strength of manual wheelchair users.

Keywords: Manual Wheelchair; Physical Strength Measurement; Physical Capacity; Handrim Force; Slope; Ergometer; Strain Gauge; Stroke Pattern