Estimating Temporal Parameters of Wheelchair Propulsion based on Hand Acceleration

Shivayogi Hiremath, BS, Dan Ding, PhD, Alicia Koontz, PhD
Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh
5044 Forbes Tower, Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA


Studies investigating wheelchair propulsion biomechanics usually utilize a SMARTWheel to quantify propulsion stroke frequency, an important risk factor for upper-extremity repetitive strain injury and/or pain. The aim of this paper was to estimate temporal parameters of wheelchair propulsion including stroke frequency, propulsion time, and recovery time based on hand acceleration. Twenty-nine manual wheelchair users propelled over linoleum and carpet while kinetic and kinematic data were collected. Estimates of the temporal parameters based on the three-dimensional hand acceleration were compared with those based on the SMARTWheel. The results revealed intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) of 0.938, 0.815, 0.753 over linoleum and 0.994, 0.962, 0.901 over the carpet for the stroke time, the propulsion time, and the recovery time, respectively. Using hand acceleration to determine temporal parameters of wheelchair propulsion offers the possibility to quantify wheelchair propulsion performance and upper limb usage in community living conditions with accelerometry-based activity monitors.


Wheelchair Propulsion, Acceleration, Cadence, Biomechanics


The work is supported by PVA #2486, and VA Center of Excellence for Wheelchairs and Associated Rehabilitation Engineering B3142C.

Shivayogi Hiremath, Human Engineering Research Laboratories, 7180 Highland Dr., 151R1-H, Pittsburgh, PA  15206. 412-365-5561.