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Design, development and testing of a low-cost electric powered wheelchair for India

Pearlman, J and Cooper, R and Chhabra, HS and Jefferds, A (2009) Design, development and testing of a low-cost electric powered wheelchair for India. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 4 (1). 42 - 57. ISSN 1748-3107

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Purpose. To design and develop an appropriate, low-cost electric powered wheelchair EPW for the Indian subcontinent. Method. We performed the following multi-phase design process: 1 Conceptual design; 2 System design, Prototype I fabrication, focus group testing with Indian stakeholders n 29; 3 System re-design, Prototype II fabrication and user trials with US n 5 and Indian n 25 subjects. Results. 1 Preliminary investigations revealed that a conventional EPW design was infeasible due to the high component cost. Instead, we constrained our design to incorporate a single drive motor and manual steering, with the option of upgrading to power steering where economically feasible. 2 The first prototype was fabricated out of easily available, low-cost materials. Focus group testing demonstrated feasibility of the design and revealed differences between stakeholder groups. 3 Prototype II incorporated feedback from the first focus group and a needs assessment. US subjects provided valuable design advice prior to the India trials. Indian subjects travelled further in the SIMPL-EPW than their own manual wheelchair MWC. Depending on spinal injury level, Indian subjects found the entire tetraplegia or outdoor portion paraplegia of the obstacle course significantly less challenging in the SIMPL-EPW compared with their own MWC. Conclusions. We demonstrated a useful and successful multi-phase design approach for developing assistive technology for developing regions. © 2009 Informa UK Ltd All rights reserved.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Pearlman, Jjpearlman@pitt.eduJLP460000-0003-0830-9136
Cooper, RRCOOPER@pitt.eduRCOOPER
Chhabra, HS
Jefferds, A
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Date: 2 December 2009
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Volume: 4
Number: 1
Page Range: 42 - 57
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1080/17483100802338440
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Rehabilitation Science and Technology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1748-3107
MeSH Headings: Electric Power Supplies; Equipment Design; Focus Groups; Humans; India; Materials Testing; Paraplegia--rehabilitation; Wheelchairs--economics
PubMed ID: 19172480
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2012 16:07
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 14:56


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