Improvement in the Physical and Psychological Well-Being of Persons with Spinal Cord Injuries by Means of Powered Wheelchairs Driven by Dual Power Wheels and Mobile Technologies
Yee-Pien Yang, Li-Jen Weng, Ye-Yu Yeh, Hui-Fen Mao, Ray-I. Chang
This study unites researchers from the fields of psychology, occupational therapy, and engineering to improve the holistic physical and psychological well-being of persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) by using assistive devices (i.e., wheelchairs) and mobile technology (i.e., cell phone and network). These technologies are used to bring persons with SCI through the difficult period of rehabilitation and to return them to their daily life in school or the working environment. First, a SpinoAid Application (APP) is developed to motivate persons with SCI to participate in the community after their injury. Second, we integrate mobile technology with a mobility assistive device to design a smart wheelchair, which is innovated by transforming the pushrim of a manually driven wheelchair into a rim motor. After the rim motor is combined with a battery, a brake, and a controller to become a power wheel, two power wheels are installed on both sides of the wheelchair to become a powered wheelchair. Third, a SmartChair APP is developed with the main functions of reminding persons with SCI to perform exercises, recording the physical condition and the wheelchair using status, and building up a social network for information sharing to increase their exercise habit, prevent cumulative injuries or discomfort of the upper extremities, and enhance their health and quality of life.