Dataset for "Propulsion cost changes of ultra-lightweight manual wheelchairs after one year of simulated use"

Manual wheelchairs are available with folding or rigid frames to meet the preferences and needs of individual users. Folding styles are commonly regarded as more portable and storable, whereas rigid frames are commonly regarded as more efficient for frequent daily use. To date, there are no studies directly comparing the performances of the frame types. Furthermore, while differences have been reported in the longevity of the frame types, no efforts have been made to relate this durability back to real-world performance of the frames. This study investigated the propulsion efficiencies of 4 folding and 2 rigid ultra-lightweight frames equipped with identical drive tires and casters. A robotic wheelchair tester was used to measure the propulsion costs of each chair over 2 surfaces: concrete and carpet. A motorized carousel was used to drive the chairs 511 km around a circular track to simulate one year of use for each wheelchair. After simulated use, 5 of the 6 wheelchairs showed no decrease in propulsion effort, indicating that the frames were able to withstand the stresses of simulated use without detrimental impact on performance. In the unused 'new' condition, rigid chairs were found to have superior (>5%) performance over folding frames on concrete and carpet, and in the 'worn' condition rigid chairs had superior performance over folding chairs on concrete, but were comparable on the carpeted surface.
National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) through grant # 90IFRE0036-01-02 and internal funding from the REAR Lab
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