Comparison of Powered Wheelchair Driving Skills in Novice and Expert Participants Using a Data Logging System
Gianluca Sorrento, MSc1 ; Philippe S. Archambault, OT(C), PhD1-2 ; Danielle Dessureault3 , MBA; François Routhier, PEng, PhD4 ; Patrick Boissy, PhD5-6
1 School of Physical & Occupational Therapy, McGill University, Montréal, Canada; 2 Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal (CRIR), Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital; 3 Department of Assistive Devices, Centre de réadptation Lucie-Bruneau; 4 Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration (CIRRIS), Institut de réadaptation en déficience physique de Québec, Québec, Canada; 5 Research Centre on Aging, Sherbrooke, Canada; 6 Dept. Kinesiology, Sherbrooke University, Sherbrooke, Canada.


For some individuals who can no longer ambulate independently, the powered wheelchair (PW) becomes a valuable means of locomotion. However, the PW does pose dangers to the user and those in the vicinity if operated improperly. Thus, operating a PW with some degree of proficiency addresses the important issue of safety. This study recruited both experience and novice PW users. It compared their performance after the completion of skills/tasks from the Wheelchair Skills Program (WSP ver.4.1). Measurement outcomes included the mean number of joystick movements, time to complete task, and joystick direction variability. In seemingly simpler tasks, the expert group performance was comparable to that of the novice group. In more difficult and spatially confined tasks, the expert group required much less joystick movements for task completion, and completed tasks in approximately half the time with respect to the novice group.


Powered wheelchair, wheeled mobility, wheelchair skills, training, assessment, data logger


This study was supported by grants from CIHR (Canada) and NSERC (Canada). We would like to thank Mélanie Aman, Angela Kim and Jacqueline Nguyen for their help with the data collection.

Author address:

Gianluca Sorrento
CRIR – Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital
3205 place Alton-Goldbloom
Laval QC H7V 1R2
+1 (450) 688-9550 x4834

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