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Evaluation of the safety and durability of low-cost nonprogrammable electric powered wheelchairs

Pearlman, JL and Cooper, RA and Karnawat, J and Cooper, R and Boninger, ML (2005) Evaluation of the safety and durability of low-cost nonprogrammable electric powered wheelchairs. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 86 (12). 2361 - 2370. ISSN 0003-9993

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Objective: To evaluate whether a selection of low-cost, nonprogrammable electric-powered wheelchairs (EPWs) meets the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Wheelchair Standards requirements. Design: Objective comparison tests of various aspects of power wheelchair design and performance of 4 EPW types. Specimens: Three of each of the following EPWs: Pride Mobility Jet 10 (Pride), Invacare Pronto M50 (Invacare), Electric Mobility Rascal 250PC (Electric Mobility), and the Golden Technologies Alanté GP-201-F (Golden). Setting: Rehabilitation engineering research center. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Static tipping angle; dynamic tipping score; braking distance; energy consumption; climatic conditioning; power and control systems integrity and safety; and static, impact, and fatigue life (equivalent cycles). Results: Static tipping angle and dynamic tipping score were significantly different across manufacturers for each tipping direction (range, 6.6°-35.6°). Braking distances were significantly different across manufacturers (range, 7.4-117.3cm). Significant differences among groups were found with analysis of variance (ANOVA). Energy consumption results show that all EPWs can travel over 17km before the battery is expected to be exhausted under idealized conditions (range, 18.2-32.0km). Significant differences among groups were found with ANOVA. All EPWs passed the climatic conditioning tests. Several adverse responses were found during the power and control systems testing, including motors smoking during the stalling condition (Electric Mobility), charger safety issues (Electric Mobility, Invacare), and controller failures (Golden). All EPWs passed static and impact testing; 9 of 12 failed fatigue testing (3 Invacare, 3 Golden, 1 Electric Mobility, 2 Pride). Equivalent cycles did not differ statistically across manufacturers (range, 9759-824,628 cycles). Conclusions: Large variability in the results, especially with respect to static tipping, power and control system failures, and fatigue life suggest design improvements must be made to make these low-cost, nonprogrammable EPWs safe and reliable for the consumer. Based on our results, these EPWs do not, in general, meet the ANSI/RESNA Wheelchair Standards requirements. © 2005 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Pearlman, JLjpearlman@pitt.eduJLP460000-0003-0830-9136
Karnawat, J
Cooper, Rcooperrm@pitt.eduCOOPERRM
Boninger, MLboninger@pitt.eduBONINGER
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Date: 1 December 2005
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume: 86
Number: 12
Page Range: 2361 - 2370
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1016/j.apmr.2005.07.294
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Rehabilitation Science and Technology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0003-9993
MeSH Headings: Equipment Design; Equipment Safety; Humans; Multivariate Analysis; Reference Standards; Technology Assessment, Biomedical; United States; Wheelchairs--standards
PubMed ID: 16344036
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2012 16:07
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2019 03:55


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