The most common complaint manual wheelchair operators have is the motion required to propel themselves forward strains their upper body joints and muscles to the point of severe, chronic pain. We have designed a device that will reduce the range of motion required and increase the torque produced while in use. The device will utilize elements of bicycle gears and hand bicycles to assist the user in maintaining proper posture while still propelling at the same original speed, if not faster. To test this hypothesis, we will run 18 participants through tests on a standard manual wheelchair with and without our device attached. We will monitor the participants with electrocardiography, electromyography, and Body Imaging to determine which tests the participant exhibited the slowest heartbeat, lowest muscle strain, and least amount of joint fatigue. Through these procedures, we will validate that our device is the affordable, detachable solution to manual wheelchair operators’ pain globally.

Manual Wheelchair Propulsion Attachment

Advisor: Dr. Matthew Leineweber

Authors: Russell Meck, Catharin Schweers