Modeling manual wheelchair propulsion cost during straight and curvilinear trajectories dataset

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Misch, Jacob
Huang, Morris
Sprigle, Stephen
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Minimizing the effort to propel a manual wheelchair is important to all users in order to optimize the efficiency of maneuvering throughout the day. Assessing the propulsion cost of wheelchairs as a mechanical system is a key aspect of understanding the influences of wheelchair design and configuration. The objective of this study was to model the relationships between inertial and energy-loss parameters to the mechanical propulsion cost across different wheelchair configurations during straight and curvilinear trajectories. Inertial parameters of an occupied wheelchair and energy loss parameters of drive wheels and casters were entered into regression models representing three different maneuvers. A wheelchair-propelling robot was used to measure propulsion cost. General linear models showed strong relationships (R2 > 0.84) between the system-level costs of propulsion and the selected predictor variables representing sources of energy loss and inertial influences. System energy loss parameters were significant predictors in all three maneuvers. Yaw inertia was also a significant predictor during zero-radius turns. The results indicate that simple energy loss measurements can predict system-level performance, and inertial influences are mostly overshadowed by the increased resistive losses caused by added mass, though weight distribution can mitigate some of this added cost. Videos of the test methods used to collect this dataset (wheelchair-propelling robot performing the three maneuvers, coast-down cart test for rolling resistance, and the scrub torque test rig) can be found here: http://hdl.handle.net/1853/60553
This work was supported by internal funding from the Rehabilitation Engineering and Applied Research (REAR) Lab.
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