Design and Performance of a Wheelchair Footrest SwitchBy Romich, Barry, PE; RESNA 29th International Annual Conference 2006,
Publication Date: 2006
Paper discusses the design and development of a wheelchair footrest switch designed for control of an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) system. The system was designed for an eight-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who used a single switch to control an AAC system. The switch she originally used was activated via head movement, while her parents believed she could have more effective control by using a foot switch. Materials and tools were used from the maintenance shop at an Easter Seals Camp and the local small town business community. The footplate was secured to the wheelchair with an adjustable angle fitting located under the ankle. This placement was chosen because downward forces through the lower leg would produce very little torque. The Single Switch Performance Test was used to evaluate both the original head switch and the new footrest switch. Results indicated that the footrest switch was almost two times as fast as the original head switch. The girl’s parents indicated that her school performance and overall quality of life improved as a result of using the system as well. Implications for design improvements are discussed.
Published by: Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) (Website:http://www.resna.org)