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Analysis of the ANSI/RESNA Wheelchair Standards: A Comparison Study of Five Different Types of Electric Powered Wheelchairs

Rentschler, Andrew J (2002) Analysis of the ANSI/RESNA Wheelchair Standards: A Comparison Study of Five Different Types of Electric Powered Wheelchairs. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The number of individuals using electric powered wheelchairs (EPWs) is increasing every year. Advances in technology have led to the design of EPWs that are more complex and can perform multiple functions. The ANSI/RESNA wheelchair standards consist of a battery of tests that are designed to evaluate the safety and performance of both manual and power wheelchairs. However, there is a deficit of information available to the general public on the performance of wheelchairs on these tests. The purpose of this study was to compare the results of standards testing on five different types of EPWs. The value and intentions of each section of the standard were also reviewed and suggestions were made for possible improvements. A total of fifteen EPWs (three of each type) were tested using the following sections: static stability, dynamic stability, effectiveness of brakes, energy consumption, overall dimensions, speed and acceleration, seating dimensions, static, impact, and fatigue testing, climatic testing, obstacle climbing ability, and power and control systems. Statistical analysis was performed on the relevant sections. Significant differences were found between the different types of wheelchairs with respect to static stability, dynamic stability, braking distance, theoretical range, and obstacle climbing ability. The EPWs with the highest velocity and accelerations were found to be the most dynamically unstable and have the longest braking distances. Dynamic stability and braking distance were also found to be directly related to the slope of the test surface. It is apparent from the results that EPWs can differ in both performance characteristics and safety. Evaluation of the wheelchair standards also illustrated the need to continually revise the standards to keep pace with new technology. Stability, fatigue strength, and control system testing are three of the sections that will need to be adapted to help evaluate the next generation of EPWs.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rentschler, Andrew Jajrst22@pitt.eduAJRST22
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCooper, Roryrcooper@pitt.eduRCOOPER
Committee MemberBoninger, Michaelmlboning@pitt.eduMLBONING
Committee MemberGuo, Songfengsguo@pitt.eduSGUO
Date: 5 September 2002
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 29 July 2002
Approval Date: 5 September 2002
Submission Date: 5 August 2002
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Bioengineering
Degree: MSBeng - Master of Science in Bioengineering
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: electric powered wheelchairs; wheelchair performance; wheelchair safety; wheelchair standards
Other ID:, etd-08052002-154543
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:57
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:48


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