Category: Technology (e.g. robotics, assistive technology, mHealth); Spinal Cord Injury
To establish interface usage tasks and performance measures designed as an assessment tool for common powered wheelchairs. To quantitatively compare usage characteristics across three common powered wheelchair interfaces, by persons with and without spinal cord injury.
Design : This was a cross-sectional study. 2x3 mixed ANOVA design was used, where the interface was a within-group factor and whether or not the participant was uninjured or had spinal-cord injury was a between-groups factor. Novelty and expertise was also a factor for the SCI group since they were experts with the interface they use when controlling their personal wheelchair.
The research was conducted at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.
Participants (or Animals, Specimens, Cadavers) :
The study consisted of 23 participants: 9 SCI full-time wheelchair users with ASIA complete and incomplete between C3-C6 and 14 uninjured participants.
All participants performed a trajectory following and command following task with three commonly used interfaces (joystick, headarray, and sip/puff). Each subject performed both tasks with a single interface per study session for a total of three sessions. The subject performed a standardized training phase at the start of each session to become accustomed to the use of that session's interface. The order or interfaces was randomly balanced across all subjects.
Main Outcome Measure(s) : Trajectory following performance measures:
Command following performance measures:
The outcomes revealed that the type of interface, injury level, and expertise have a significant effect on interface usage performance measures. These performance measures correlate and can further predict usage characteristics.
Conclusions : The established tasks and measures can be used as an assessment and training tool for common interfaces used to control an assistive wheelchair. These tools facilitate training in a safe and controlled setting, without the need to drive the wheelchair. The quantitative performance measures can be used by seating clinicians to make an assessment of the user's ability to safely and skillfully control a wheelchair.
Mahdieh Nejati Javaremi– Student, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
Michael Young– PhD Student, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
Brenna Argall– Associate Professor, Faculty Research Scientist, Director of Assistive & Rehabilitation Robotics Laboratory, Rehabilitation institute of Chicago, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois