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Manual wheelchairs: Research and innovation in rehabilitation, sports, daily life and health


van der Woude, Lucas H. V.; de Groot, Sonja; Janssen, Thomas W. J.


Biological Engineering Society


Medical Engineering and Physics, 2006, Volume 28 (Number 9), Seite 905-915, London: Butterworth-Heineman, ISSN: 1350-4533 (Print); 1873-4030 (Online)




Those with lower limb disabilities are often dependent on manually propelled wheelchairs for their mobility, in Europe today some 3.3 million people. This implies a transfer from leg to arm work for ambulation and all other activities of daily living (ADL).

Compared to the legs, arm work is less efficient and more straining, and leads to a lower physical capacity. Also, there is a major risk of mechanical overuse. Problems of long-term wheelchair use are not only pain or discomfort, but also a risk of a physically inactive lifestyle. Subsequently, serious secondary impairments (obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular problems) may eventually emerge. Wheelchair quality, including the ergonomic fitting to the individual may play a preventive role here, but also other modes of physical activity, and the understanding of training, rehabilitation, active lifestyle and sports on health and wellbeing.

The 'International Classification of Functioning, Health and Disability' (ICF) model, a stress-strain-work capacity model, as well as the ergonomics model that relates human-activity-assistive technology are instrumental to the concepts, structure and aims of research in assistive technology for mobility.

Apart from empirical developments and innovations from within wheelchair sports, systematic research has played a role in wheelchair development and design in three important areas:
(1) the vehicle mechanics,
(2) the human movement system and
(3) the wheelchair-user interface. Current practical developments in design and technology are discussed.

A position stand on the key-issues of a current and future research agenda in this area is presented.

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Informationen in der ICF:




Medical Engineering & Physics

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Informationsstand: 30.05.2011

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