Design of a One-Arm Driven Manual Wheelchair

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atrc, assistive, technology, resource, center, wheelchair, wheel, chair, one, arm, drive, manual


In the United States there are over 1.4 million wheelchair users, roughly 25% of whom have medical conditions that can result in the need for manual wheelchairs which can be operated by a single upper appendage. Few manual one-armed wheelchairs are currently available. Existing designs have poor maneuverability and require the user to have considerable strength, endurance, and cognitive ability. The team developed a design which utilizes cable steering, cantilever brakes, and a ratchet and pawl propulsion system, all of which can be controlled simultaneously with one arm. The design exhibits a high degree of maneuverability, intuitive steering, braking, and propulsion controls, and requires less strength to operate than devices currently on the market.