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Rehabilitation Engineering and Applied Research Lab (REAR Lab)

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Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
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    Procedure to categorize wheelchair cushion performance using compliant buttock models
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2022-09) Sprigle, Stephen ; Deshpande, Yogesh
    Purpose: Wheelchair cushion prescription often seeks to address tissue integrity in addition to other clinical indicators. Because hundreds of wheelchair cushion models are available, a benefit would result if cushions were classified in a more valid manner to help guide selection by clinicians and users. The objective of this research was to develop an approach to evaluate and classify wheelchair cushion performance with respect to pressure redistribution. Materials and methods: Two anatomically-based buttock models were designed consisting of an elastomeric shell that models overall buttock form and a rigid substructure that abstracts load-bearing aspects of the skeleton. Model shapes were based upon elliptical and trigonometric equations, respectively. Two performance parameters were defined, pressure magnitude and pressure redistribution. The pressure magnitude parameter compared internal pressure values of the test cushion to a flat foam reference material, resulting in three classifications, superior, comparable, and inferior. Surface sensors were used to distinguish cushions with high, moderate or low pressure redistribution performance. Ten wheelchair cushions were evaluated by both models using two loads that represent a range of body weights expected for 41–43 cm wide cushions. Results and Conclusion: A classification matrix is proposed using both models and performance parameters. Two cushions met criteria for the highest level of performance, and one cushion was deemed to have inadequate performance for therapeutic value. The proposed method has a sensitivity to discern differences, compatibility with different sized cushions, and a versatility in classification. As such, it stands as an improvement over existing classification approaches.
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    Design of a Robotic System to Measure Propulsion Work of Over-ground Wheelchair Maneuvers
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2014) Liles, Howard ; Huang, Morris ; Caspall, Jayme ; Sprigle, Stephen
    A wheelchair-propelling robot has been developed to measure the efficiency of manual wheelchairs. The use of a robot has certain advantages compared to the use of human operators with respect to repeatability of measurements and the ability to compare many more wheelchair configurations than possible with human operators. Its design and implementation required significant engineering and validation of hardware and control systems. The robot can propel a wheelchair according to pre-programmed accelerations and velocities and measures the forces required to achieve these maneuvers. Wheel velocities were within 0.1 m/s of programmed values and coefficients of variation (CV) < 2%. Torque measurements were also repeatable with CV <10%. By determining the propulsion torque required to propel the wheelchair through a series of canonical maneuvers, task-dependent input work for various wheelchairs and configurations can be compared. This metric would serve to quantify the combined inertial and frictional resistance of the mechanical system.
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    Assessing the Efficacy, Effectiveness, and Cost-Effectiveness of Assistive Technology Interventions for Enhancing Mobility
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2007) Fuhrer, Marcus J.
    PURPOSE: The aim of this paper is to highlight the contributions that complementary efficacy, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness studies can make to assessing the outcomes of assistive technology interventions for enhancing mobility. METHOD: The terms, 'assistive technology outcomes research' and 'assistive technology interventions', are defined. Several bases are examined for the shortage of outcomes research pertaining to mobility-related assistive technology interventions. Three presuppositions are described for the research strategy of interlocking studies being recommended. They are assigning priority to evaluating both recently developed assistive technologies and ones that have long been available, acknowledging the complexity of assistive technology as an intervention, and appreciating the trade-offs necessary for strengthening studies' internal and external validity. Some key study preparations are considered, including treatment theory, treatment specification, and the selection of outcome domains and measures. The essential features of efficacy, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness studies are outlined, and their interdependence is stressed. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: To assess the outcomes of assistive technology interventions for mobility in ways that are both methodologically sound and relevant to stakeholder needs, a research strategy is required involving mutually reinforcing efficacy, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness studies. Collaborative arrangements and funding methods are discussed for fostering the needed research.
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    Research Priorities: Seating and Positioning
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2007) Sprigle, Stephen
    The Wheeled Mobility State of the Science Conference, hosted by the mobilityRERC at the Georgia Institute of Technology, was a forum to identify and discuss important research topics. The Conference was configured around Breakout Groups which were assigned specific research topics. These topics were selected via dot-voting by Conference attendees. The charge to the Breakout Groups was simple, yet unattainable: “Configure your research topic into a research project”. They were provided with general guidelines to identify research questions, specific aims or hypotheses, significance, study design possibilities, recruitment considerations, measurement variables and tools, analysis considerations, and anticipated challenges. This article summarizes the discussions from the Seating and Positioning Breakout Groups. The four research topics selected for discussion were: Impact of a seating and mobility intervention, Defining a systematic clinical approach to cushion selection, Functional impact of wheelchair cushions, and Long term impact of sitting. One member of each Group documented the discussion and a summary presentation was made to all Conference attendees. The following synopses were compiled from the Group notes and presentation. They are presented in sequence and reflect variability in discussion, presentation and content. Some research topics were more amenable to the suggested guidelines than others.