Design, construction and testing of an innovative mechanism for manual wheelchair propulsion [electronic resource] /

by Burke, Thomas S.

Abstract (Summary)
Design, Construction and Testing of an Innovative Mechanism for Manual Wheelchair Propulsion Thomas S. Burke Jr. The concern for people with disabilities who are users of wheelchairs has become a dynamic research area in the past several years. This research is being done to enhance the health and lifestyles of standard manual wheelchair users. As part of this research new and innovative mechanisms that give the manual wheelchair users a mechanical advantage, and allow them to operate a standard wheelchair with less effort and muscle strain are being developed. In this research, an innovative mechanism was conceived, designed, built, and tested. The path of this innovative mechanism was modeled after the semi-circular (SC) wheelchair stroke pattern. It allows the user to propel a standard wheelchair in both the push and pull strokes of the handle. This new design will allow for a more symmetric muscle development of the shoulder and upper-arm complex, and should reduce muscle (skeletal) injuries. A conceptual model of the new mechanism was formulated using SolidWorks software. Preliminary position and torque analysis were analyzed using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. A prototype of the innovative mechanism was built and retrofitted onto a standard manual wheelchair. In addition, a portable wheelchair testing station was designed and fabricated to allow for human testing comparative measurements between a standard wheelchair and the innovative mechanism. Comparison of data from the standard wheelchair and the innovative mechanism showed energy, horsepower, and RPM ratio gains of 1.638, 1.631, and 1.64. Therefore, the mechanism shows promise to enhance the quality of life for mobility impaired citizens.
Bibliographical Information:


School:West Virginia University

School Location:USA - West Virginia

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:

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