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atrc, assistive, technology, resource, center, graduate, thesis, legrest, wheelchair


For people bound to a wheelchair, the ability to elevate one's legs is as much a comfort concern as it is a health concern. The elevation of one's legs changes the user's sitting position, thereby increasing their comfort level while at the same time increasing circulation, ultimately aiding in the prevention of pressure sores and lower extremity swelling. Unfortunately, the motion of current legrests on manual wheelchairs does not accurately match the motion of the user's lower leg. This mismatch of motion causes the legrest to push up on the leg, shortening it while applying torque to the hip. An elevating/articulating wheelchair legrest that consisted of a planar sixbar linkage coupled with a worm gear set was designed and manufactured to address the shortcomings of standard elevating legrests. The legrest prototype elevates and articulates simultaneously from a single user interface, allowing the user's leg to be straight in the elevated position. The prototype design was evaluated by a potential user, his nurse, and the Director of Rehabilitation Engineering at the Massachusetts Hospital School. The collective response from this evaluation was very favorable. The design was successful in meeting the design specifications. Further modifications are needed before the design is ready for the commercial market.



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