Design refinement and evaluation of a mobile manual standing wheelchair

Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2022 Feb 23;1-8. doi: 10.1080/17483107.2022.2041737. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: There are no manually propelled wheelchairs on the market that are mobile in both seated and standing positions. In response to this product gap, our group formerly designed a mobile manual standing wheelchair (MMSW) and gathered stakeholder feedback. The purpose of this study was to refine the MMSW based on feedback, including weight and width reduction, and evaluate its performance.

Materials and methods: The MMSW was subjected to ANSI/RESNA stability testing, and three male participants completed a subset of the wheelchair skills test, including a 100-m roll test in the MMSW (seated and standing) and in their ultralight wheelchair.

Results: The MMSW met ANSI/RESNA stability safety standards. During the 100-m roll test, participants reached speeds with the MMSW in both the standing and sitting postures similar or greater than those typical of moving in the home environment (1.11 m/s seated; 0.79 m/s standing). Mobility speeds in the MMSW in the standing position were about three times faster than average walking speeds in exoskeletons (0.26 m/s exoskeletons). With the addition of chain drive bracing to the MMSW, one user was able to reach speeds in the standing position similar to average neurotypical walking speeds indicating the possibility for wheelchair users to be able to move in pace with family and friends.

Conclusion: All participants expressed interest in the MMSW to facilitate improved quality of life. Further work is needed to test the utility of the MMSW in home and community settings, and its potential effects on standing time and health outcomes.Implications for rehabilitationManual standing wheelchairs with standing mobility may increase functional utility and length of standing time for manual wheelchair usersIncreased standing time may lead to several health benefits for manual wheelchair users.

Keywords: Accessibility; manual; mobile; spinal cord injury; standing; wheelchair.