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Seat and footrest shocks and vibrations in manual wheelchairs with and without suspension

Cooper, RA and Wolf, E and Fitzgerald, SG and Boninger, ML and Ulerich, R and Ammer, WA (2003) Seat and footrest shocks and vibrations in manual wheelchairs with and without suspension. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 84 (1). 96 - 102. ISSN 0003-9993

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Objective: To examine differences in the shock and vibration transmitted to an occupant of a manual wheelchair with and without suspension caster forks and with and without rear-suspension systems. Design: Repeated-measures engineering testing. Setting: Rehabilitation engineering center with a wheelchair standards test laboratory. Specimens: Six manual wheelchairs. Interventions: An American National Standards Institute/Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America wheelchair test dummy and a Hybrid III test dummy were used to test shock and vibration transmission in wheelchairs equipped with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) caster forks and suspension caster forks. Ultralight wheelchairs, half of which had factory-equipped rear-suspension systems, were tested. Testing was conducted on a double-drum wheelchair test machine. Main Outcome Measures: Shocks were examined by using peak acceleration and the frequency at which peak acceleration occurs for the seat and footrest. Vibration was characterized by the acceleration power per octave for the seat and footrest. Results: Significant differences were found in the peak accelerations at the seat (P=.0004) and footrest (P=.0007) between the wheelchairs with the OEM caster forks and those with the suspension casters. The wheelchairs with suspension had significantly different frequencies at which the peak accelerations occurred for both the seat (P=.01) and footrest (P=.0001). The wheelchairs with suspension caster forks had a lower total power per octave than the wheelchairs with the OEM caster forks. For the footrest vibrations, significant differences were found between the types of caster forks for all octaves except those associated with frequencies more than 78.75Hz. There were significant differences for wheelchairs with and without rear suspension for total power per octave of seat vibrations in the octaves between 7.81 and 9.84Hz (P=.01) and 12.40 and 15.63Hz (P=.008). Conclusions: Suspension caster forks reduce the shock and vibration exposure to the user of a manual wheelchair. Rearsuspension systems reduce some of the factors related to shock and vibration exposure, but they are not clearly superior to traditional designs. © 2003 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
Wolf, E
Fitzgerald, SG
Boninger, MLboninger@pitt.eduBONINGER0000-0001-6966-919X
Ulerich, R
Ammer, WA
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Date: 1 January 2003
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume: 84
Number: 1
Page Range: 96 - 102
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1053/apmr.2003.50069
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0003-9993
MeSH Headings: Acceleration; Equipment Design; Humans; Vibration; Wheelchairs
PubMed ID: 12589628
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2012 18:26
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2023 14:55


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