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Electric Powered Wheelchair Control with a Variable Compliance Joystick: Improving Control of Mobility Devices for Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis

Brown, Karl Walter (2007) Electric Powered Wheelchair Control with a Variable Compliance Joystick: Improving Control of Mobility Devices for Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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While technological developments over the past several decades have greatly enhanced the lives of people with mobility impairments, between 10 and 40 percent of clients who desired powered mobility found it very difficult to operate electric powered wheelchairs (EPWs) safely because of sensory impairments, poor motor function, or cognitive deficits [1]. The aim of this research is to improve control of personalized mobility for those with multiple sclerosis (MS) by examining isometric and movement joystick interfaces with customizable algorithms. A variable compliance joystick (VCJ) with tuning software was designed and built to provide a single platform for isometric and movement, or compliant, interfaces with enhanced programming capabilities.The VCJ with three different algorithms (basic, personalized, personalized with fatigue adaptation) was evaluated with four subjects with MS (mean age 58.7±5.0 yrs; years since diagnosis 28.2±16.1 yrs) in a virtual environment. A randomized, two-group, repeated-measures experimental design was used, where two subjects used the VCJ in isometric mode and two in compliant mode.While still too early to draw conclusions about the performance of the joystick interfaces and algorithms, the VCJ was a functional platform for collecting information. Inspection of the data shows that the learning curve may be long for this system. Also, while subjects may have low trial times, low times could be related to more deviation from the target path.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Brown, Karl
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSpaeth, Donald
Committee MemberDing, Dandad5@pitt.eduDAD5
Committee MemberCooper, Rory A.rcooper@pitt.eduRCOOPER
Date: 24 April 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 19 December 2006
Approval Date: 24 April 2007
Submission Date: 27 February 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: control enhancer; control interface; fatigue; human-machine interface; isometric joystick; position sensing joystick; simulation; tremor; validation; virtual reality; weighted Fourier linear combiner; WFLC
Other ID:, etd-02272007-111302
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:31
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:36


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