A Modal Reciprocating Pushrim Drive Wheelchair
Small Business Information
Green Technologies, Inc.
Green Technologies, Inc., 13387 Green Rd, West Fork, AR, 72774
AbstractDESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Despite many applicable developments in the field of ergonomically improved manual drive wheelchairs, the standard fixed pushrim remains the most prevalent method of propulsion. These ubiquitous fixed pushrim drives, while inexpensive and intuitively simple to operate, contribute to several common repetitive motion injuries. Among manual wheelchair users surveyed, prevalence of shoulder pain is seen to be between 31% and 73%, and carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) to be between 49% and 73%. The prevalence of these injuries is associated with the large wrist flexion under load, the downward pressure on the pushrim, the muscle imbalance from the uni-directional stresses of continuous push motions applied to the pushrim, and the large number of repetitions of the the push motion. When pain reaches a certain level of discomfort, the wheelchair dependent individual generally starts using a powered chair, thus losing a valuable cardiovascular exercise. Responding to the needs of this large user population, 1.5 million in the US alone, it is our long term objective to provide a wheelchair propulsion system utilizing a pushrim of improved kinematics. The improved kinematic design will allow up to a 50% reduction of push strokes for a given distance traveled. Additionally, it will allow the user the option of achieving and retaining a preferred handgrip on the pushrim, while retaining traditional pushrim operation for fine control. The concept has the potential to allow embodiment as fully self-contained wheel assemblies that would be field retrofittable to a large number of existing wheelchairs. We have developed a pushrim drive concept that will enable the long-term objectives seated above. It is the specific aim of this proposal to design, fabricate, and do human subject testing on a wheelchair, such that the needed utility will be demonstrated.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.