RESNA > Events > 2024 Student Scientific Papers

2024 Student Scientific Papers

Scientific and Student Scientific Paper Platform and Minute Madness Session

Date and Time: Wednesday, July 10 | 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

Location: Zoom via RESNA Learn         

Unlock the future of assistive technology this summer!  Explore the latest scientific discoveries and research from experts and up-and-comers in our field. Join RESNA on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  ET for our Scientific and Student Scientific Paper Platform and Minute Madness Session.  

You won’t want to miss our high-energy Minute Madness session where presenters will highlight their research in just one minute.

This is your chance to connect with leaders and emerging talents in the field all while earning valuable CEUs! Secure your spot today.

Register Now


Meet the 2024 SSPC winners and runners up:


"Impacts of the Jaco robotic arm on user satisfaction, participation, and independence with everyday activities."
Primary author: Elizabeth A. Newcombe, Ithaca College
Abstract: Individuals with upper extremity disabilities (UED) often experience challenges in carrying out everyday activities. One common intervention to mitigate these challenges is the implementation of assistive technology (AT). An example of AT that has the potential to increase the functional ability of those with UED is the Jaco robotic arm. Although AT options like the Jaco robotic arm are available for individuals with UED, numerous barriers stand in the way of them obtaining the AT that they need. Some of these barriers include funding, lack of awareness of what AT options exist, and limited evidence to support its efficacy. This study investigated the efficacy of Jaco robotic arm. User satisfaction, participation in, and independence in everyday activities were explored in users who were 18 years of age or older and used the Jaco robotic arm. Using a mixed method retrospective study guided by the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure, the study demonstrated that the Jaco robotic arm has a positive impact on users’ self-perceived engagement, satisfaction, and independence and suggests that the Jaco may be a helpful intervention for individuals with UED. Quantitative data showed a high average change in users’ satisfaction and performance with everyday activities after receiving and using the Jaco robotic arm. In addition, themes identified through qualitative data analysis revealed that participants felt more independent, safe and reported better health and wellness when participating in meaningful activities. Jaco robotic arm users reported a meaningful change in overall participation in everyday activities. Further research should utilize larger sample sizes of participants with more rigorous research designs. Additional outcome measures may be beneficial to quantify other changes resulting from using the Jaco robotic arm. 

"Development of a Hybrid Brain-Computer Interface for a Robot-Facilitated Cognitive Assessment Task"
Primary author:  Maria Insuasty, University of Alberta
Abstract: Introduction: Play offers possibilities for learning through exploration and social engagement. In previous studies, children with disabilities have used eye gaze to control robots to access play. However, some children had trouble sustaining their gaze on the robot action buttons on the computer screen. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) can detect the neural activity that occurs when individuals imagine motor movements (motor imagery). Using BCI to select the action buttons could help address the problem of sustaining eye gaze.

Methods: A system composed of a BCI, an eye tracker, and a graphical user interface (GUI) was developed. Six neurotypical adults (average age 24 ±3.94 years old) interacted with the system. To train the motor imagery command the participants thought about pushing an object. Then, when the system recognized the motor imagery command it generated a click, which selected the GUI button that the participant was gazing at, and the action was performed by the robot. Participants did four tasks of increasing complexity using a car-like mobile robot to knock over targets. The participant’s perception of the system was evaluated through a standardized survey and open-ended questions.

Results: All the participants finished the four proposed tasks. The participants mentioned that the experience was “fun, comfortable, and entertaining”.

Conclusions: Participants thought the system was functional and easy to use and described their experience in positive terms.

"Stakeholder-Driven Refinement of a Robotic Transfer System: A case of Participatory Action Design"
Primary author:  Shantanu A Satpute, University of Pittsburgh
Abstract: Wheelchair transfers are crucial for the mobility of users, but they also pose risks of injury for both users and caregivers. Existing transfer devices lack practicality and efficiency, resulting in high rates of musculoskeletal injuries among caregivers. To address this, we developed the Powered Personal Transfer System (PPTS), a robotic transfer system enabling safe transfers between a hospital bed and a powered wheelchair with minimal caregiver assistance. The development and evaluation of the PPTS incorporate user-centered design principles and participatory action design and engineering (PADE) approaches. Through stakeholder feedback, we identified the challenge of correctly positioning the wheelchair at the foot of the bed, a critical task for transfers using the PPTS, which requires high mental demand and poses safety risks if done incorrectly. Using the modified Delphi process, we leveraged experts to define the design criteria and translated user feedback into design requirements, ultimately implementing an interface between the bed and EPW for accurate positioning.

The interface (called a docking station) incorporates a backup camera for visual guidance and ultrasonic sensors for accurate distance measurement, along with audio feedback to provide real-time assistance for positioning. Pilot testing in the lab verified the docking station functionality, showing improved ease, accuracy (lower positioning errors), and consistency in wheelchair positioning. This study demonstrates the iterative refinement of the PPTS, aiming to enhance usability and safety of wheelchair transfers, potentially reducing injuries among caregivers.

Runners Up:

"Effects of in wheel suspension on whole body vibration and comfort in manual wheelchair users"
Primary author:  Ahlad Neti, University of Pittsburgh
Abstract: Manual wheelchair users frequently encounter surfaces that generate substantial levels of vibration and shock, which can lead to discomfort and pain in the neck and back with prolonged exposure. Existing methods for mitigating transmitted vibration have proven ineffective and, in some cases, detrimental to users' health. In-wheel suspension systems, which replace traditional spokes with dampening elements or springs, are proposed as a potential solution to this issue. This study aimed to assess the impact of in-wheel suspension on reducing vibration and shock while improving comfort for manual wheelchair users. Twenty-four participants propelled over nine different surfaces using three types of wheels: standard spoked wheels, Spinergy CLX wheels, and LoopWheels. Accelerometry data was collected at the footrest, seat, and backrest positions. The results revealed that LoopWheels significantly reduced vibrations by 7-10% at the backrest and footrest positions and decreased shocks by 7% at the backrest compared to standard wheels. However, there were no significant differences in comfort between the different wheel types. These findings suggest that LoopWheels effectively mitigate vibration and shock on specific obstacles, but further long-term testing is necessary to assess their impact on users' overall health.

"Differences in Distance Traveled by People Using Permobil Power Wheelchairs in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States"
Primary author:  Hanju Zhu, University of Pittsburgh
Abstract: The WHO’s wheelchair provision guidelines reported 1% of the world’s population potentially need a wheelchair. Wheelchairs provide people with disabilities the ability to function and participate in their communities. Permobil, a wheelchair manufacturer, has instrumented their devices with data logging technologies to collect and upload information through cloud servers in order to know how wheelchairs are performing. There is little knowledge regarding average distance traveled by people who use power wheelchairs especially comparisons across geographic regions of the world. A recent study reported that people using Permobil power wheelchairs (PWCs) traveled on average 1,365 meters per day in the United States. Other studies of small sample indicated varying distances traveled across various settings and populations with manual wheelchairs (MWCs) traveling 686 to 6,745 meters and PWCs traveling1,667 to 3,433 meters per day. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate how far on average Permobil PWC users drive in real-world settings over the entire year of 2022. The second purpose was to compare differences in distance traveled across the regions of Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States.  An understanding of distance traveled helps to inform wheelchair maintenance and repair schedules and any variations that need to be considered across regions of the world. The study demonstrated that users from the Europe traveled on average 2,188 meters per day, significantly higher than users in Australia, Canada, and the United States, with mean daily distances at 1,436, 1,630, and 1,365 meters, respectively. The study results may warrant various estimates related to PWC use including maintenance, repair, and reasonable use of lifetime, especially for different regions to establish corresponding wheelchair policies regarding procurement and follow-up.

"Evaluating long-term effects of in-wheel suspension on pain and fatigue in manual wheelchair users"
Primary author:  Caroline E. Howard, University of Pittsburgh
Abstract: A spinal cord injury results in loss of mobility below the level of injury. Most often, individuals with a SPI require use of a mobility device and rely on a wheelchair for all their daily mobility tasks throughout the course of an entire day. Recent developments in decreasing shock and vibration include in-wheel suspension systems. This research aims to evaluate the long-term effects of in-wheel suspensions on the reduction of pain and fatigue in manual wheelchair users. Qualitative effects will be analyzed from user reported data in their home environment.



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