Development of Assistive Functions for Joysticks of Electric WheelchairsBy Omori, Kiyohiro; Sugimoto, Yoshimi; Maeda, Satoru; Kitagawa, Hiroshi; Assistive Technology From Adapted Equipment to Inclusive Environments: AAATE 2009 Conference Proceedings, pp. 31-35
Publication Date: 2009
Paper outlines the development of new assistive functions for the joystick of children’s electric wheelchairs aimed at reducing the level of difficulty in the early stages of driver training. The functions enable propulsion of an electric wheelchair in three modes: (1) One Shot Forward Mode restricts driving duration and direction, propelling the wheelchair forward only during a given time period when the user pushes the joystick in any direction; (2) One Shot Direction Mode restricts driving duration only; and (3) One Shot and Emergency Stop Mode has a duration limit and an additional emergency stopping function which is activated when the user pushes the joystick to the farthest position from neutral. In all modes, the chair starts moving again after the joystick is returned to its neutral position. These modes prevent the chair from running out of control, ensuring the safety of the user. A child’s electric wheelchair equipped with the modified joystick was tested with 2 girls aged 9 and 14 years with cerebral palsy and a 6-year-old girl with cerebrogenic physical and mental disabilities in their school environments. The assistive functions of the joystick were found to be effective in improving the students’ driving abilities; in addition, teachers interviewed found the chair to be easily maneuverable in the tight-spaced classroom setting. Implications for further development of the joystick based on teacher feedback are discussed.
Published by: IOS Press (Website:http://www.iospress.nl)
Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE) (Web Site: http://www.aaate.net )
Link to text: http://www.booksonline.iospress.nl/Content/View.aspx?piid=13336