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Design Features That Affect the Maneuverability of Wheelchairs and Scooters

Koontz, AM and Brindle, ED and Kankipati, P and Feathers, D and Cooper, RA (2010) Design Features That Affect the Maneuverability of Wheelchairs and Scooters. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 91 (5). 759 - 764. ISSN 0003-9993

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Koontz AM, Brindle ED, Kankipati P, Feathers D, Cooper RA. Design features that affect the maneuverability of wheelchairs and scooters. Objective: To determine the minimum space required for wheeled mobility device users to perform 4 maneuverability tasks and to investigate the impact of selected design attributes on space. Design: Case series. Setting: University laboratory, Veterans Affairs research facility, vocational training center, and a national wheelchair sport event. Participants: The sample of convenience included manual wheelchair (MWC; n=109), power wheelchair (PWC; n=100), and scooter users (n=14). Intervention: A mock environment was constructed to create passageways to form an L-turn, 360°-turn in place, and a U-turn with and without a barrier. Passageway openings were increased in 5-cm increments until the user could successfully perform each task without hitting the walls. Structural dimensions of the device and user were collected using an electromechanical probe. Mobility devices were grouped into categories based on design features and compared using 1-way analysis of variance and post hoc pairwise Bonferroni-corrected tests. Main Outcome Measure: Minimum passageway widths for the 4 maneuverability tasks. Results: Ultralight MWCs with rear axles posterior to the shoulder had the shortest lengths and required the least amount of space compared with all other types of MWCs (P<.05). Mid-wheel-drive PWCs required the least space for the 360°-turn in place compared with front-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive PWCs (P<.01) but performed equally as well as front-wheel-drive models on all other turning tasks. PWCs with seat functions required more space to perform the tasks. Conclusions: Between 10% and 100% of users would not be able to maneuver in spaces that meet current Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities specifications. This study provides data that can be used to support wheelchair prescription and home modifications and to update standards to improve the accessibility of public areas. © 2010 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Koontz, AMakoontz@pitt.eduAKOONTZ
Brindle, ED
Kankipati, Ppak33@pitt.eduPAK33
Feathers, D
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Date: 1 May 2010
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume: 91
Number: 5
Page Range: 759 - 764
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1016/j.apmr.2010.01.009
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Rehabilitation Science and Technology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0003-9993
MeSH Headings: Adult; Architectural Accessibility; Electric Power Supplies; Equipment Design; Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Wheelchairs
PubMed ID: 20434614
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 21:39
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 16:56


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