Advertisement

Evaluation of the Safety and Durability of Low-Cost Nonprogrammable Electric Powered Wheelchairs

  • Jonathan L. Pearlman
    Affiliations
    Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare Systems, Pittsburgh, PA

    Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Rory A. Cooper
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests to Rory A. Cooper, PhD, Human Engineering Research Laboratories (151-R1), VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, 7180 Highland Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
    Affiliations
    Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare Systems, Pittsburgh, PA

    Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

    Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

    Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.
    Search for articles by this author
  • Jaideep Karnawat
    Affiliations
    Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare Systems, Pittsburgh, PA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Rosemarie Cooper
    Affiliations
    Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare Systems, Pittsburgh, PA

    Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

    Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

    Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.
    Search for articles by this author
  • Michael L. Boninger
    Affiliations
    Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare Systems, Pittsburgh, PA

    Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

    Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

    Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.
    Search for articles by this author

      Abstract

      Pearlman JL, Cooper RA, Karnawat J, Cooper R, Boninger ML. Evaluation of the safety and durability of low-cost nonprogrammable electric powered wheelchairs.

      Objective

      To evaluate whether a selection of low-cost, nonprogrammable electric-powered wheelchairs (EPWs) meets the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Wheelchair Standards requirements.

      Design

      Objective comparison tests of various aspects of power wheelchair design and performance of 4 EPW types.

      Specimens

      Three of each of the following EPWs: Pride Mobility Jet 10 (Pride), Invacare Pronto M50 (Invacare), Electric Mobility Rascal 250PC (Electric Mobility), and the Golden Technologies Alanté GP-201-F (Golden).

      Setting

      Rehabilitation engineering research center.

      Interventions

      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Static tipping angle; dynamic tipping score; braking distance; energy consumption; climatic conditioning; power and control systems integrity and safety; and static, impact, and fatigue life (equivalent cycles).

      Results

      Static tipping angle and dynamic tipping score were significantly different across manufacturers for each tipping direction (range, 6.6°−35.6°). Braking distances were significantly different across manufacturers (range, 7.4−117.3cm). Significant differences among groups were found with analysis of variance (ANOVA). Energy consumption results show that all EPWs can travel over 17km before the battery is expected to be exhausted under idealized conditions (range, 18.2−32.0km). Significant differences among groups were found with ANOVA. All EPWs passed the climatic conditioning tests. Several adverse responses were found during the power and control systems testing, including motors smoking during the stalling condition (Electric Mobility), charger safety issues (Electric Mobility, Invacare), and controller failures (Golden). All EPWs passed static and impact testing; 9 of 12 failed fatigue testing (3 Invacare, 3 Golden, 1 Electric Mobility, 2 Pride). Equivalent cycles did not differ statistically across manufacturers (range, 9759−824,628 cycles).

      Conclusions

      Large variability in the results, especially with respect to static tipping, power and control system failures, and fatigue life suggest design improvements must be made to make these low-cost, nonprogrammable EPWs safe and reliable for the consumer. Based on our results, these EPWs do not, in general, meet the ANSI/RESNA Wheelchair Standards requirements.

      Key Words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • American National Standards Institute, Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America
        Wheelchair standards. Vol 2. ANSI/RESNA, New York1998
        • American National Standards Institute, Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America
        Wheelchair standards. Vol 1. ANSI/RESNA, New York1998
        • Calder C.J.
        • Kirby R.L.
        Fatal wheelchair-related accidents in the United States.
        Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1990; 69: 184-190
        • Fass M.V.
        • Cooper R.A.
        • Fitzgerald S.G.
        • et al.
        Durability, value, and reliability of selected electric powered wheelchairs.
        Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2004; 85: 805-814
        • Rentschler A.J.
        • Cooper R.A.
        • Fitzgerald S.G.
        • et al.
        Evaluation of selected electric-powered wheelchairs using the ANSI/RESNA standards.
        Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2004; 85: 611-619
        • Cooper R.A.
        • Robertson R.N.
        • Lawrence B.
        • et al.
        Life-Cycle analysis of depot versus rehabilitation manual wheelchairs.
        J Rehabil Res Dev. 1996; 33: 45-55
        • Fitzgerald S.G.
        • Cooper R.A.
        • Boninger M.L.
        • Rentschler A.J.
        Comparison of fatigue life for 3 types of manual wheelchairs.
        Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2001; 82: 1484-1488
        • Kwarciak A.M.
        • Cooper R.A.
        • Ammer W.A.
        • Boninger M.L.
        • Cooper R.
        Fatigue testing of selected suspension manual wheelchairs using ANSI/RESNA standards.
        Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005; 86: 123-129
        • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
        Part B Physician/Supplier Nat’l Data, CY 2003 Top 200 Level II Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System. 2004 (Sept 17, Available at: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/statistics/feeforservice/top200l2hcpcsbycharges03.asp. Accessed July 20, 2005.)
        • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
        Part B Physician/Supplier Nat’l Data, CY 2001 Top 200 Level II Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System. 2004 (Sept 17, Available at: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/statistics/feeforservice/top200l2hcpcsbycharges01.asp. Accessed July 20, 2005.)
        • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
        Part B Physician/Supplier Nat’l Data, CY 2002 Top 200 Level II Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System. 2004 (Sept 17, Available at: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/statistics/feeforservice/top200l2hcpcsbycharges02.asp. Accessed July 20, 2005.)
        • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
        Medicare announces new initiatives on power wheelchair coverage and payment policy. 2004 (Sept 17, Available at: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/media/press/release.asp?Counter=1023. Accessed July 20, 2005.)
        • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
        Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS). 2004 (Sept 17, Available at: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/medicare/hcpcs/default.asp?. Accessed July 20, 2005.)
        • International Standards Organization
        Comments for revisions of ISO 7176-8. 2003 (. Sept 23,)
        • Timm N.
        Applied multivariate analysis. Springer, New York2002
        • Corfman T.A.
        • Cooper R.A.
        • Fitzgerald S.G.
        • Cooper R.
        Tips and falls during electric-powered wheelchair driving.
        Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003; 84: 1797-1802
        • Cooper R.A.
        • Thorman T.
        • Cooper R.
        • et al.
        Driving characteristics of electric-powered wheelchair users.
        Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2002; 83: 250-255