Evaluation of a Novel Power Wheelchair Joint Position Control Interface

Joseph Olson, BS1,2 , Richard Simpson, PhD1,2,3
1 University of Pittsburgh
2 Human Engineering Research Laboratories
3 VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System


This pilot study investigates a joint position method of driving a power wheelchair.  10 able bodied subjects drove a power wheelchair using a commercially available data glove with custom software (intervention) and a traditional motion sensing joystick (control).  Preference was determined using the NASA Task Load Index.  Suggestions for future designs were also collected.  There was no statistical difference between the speed-adjusted times for the two interventions.  All subjects preferred the control over the intervention. 


Human control interface, power wheelchair


Special thanks to Rory Cooper, David Boninger and Emily Teodorski as well as the students, faculty and staff of Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) for their support and help completing this project. This work was supported by internal HERL VA VISN pilot funds #H0003.


Joseph J. Olson, Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, 7180 Highland Drive, 151R1-H, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.  412-365-4943, olsonj@herlpitt.org