Development of a Wheelchair Stability Assessment System: Design Tools and Approaches

  • Louise MoodyEmail author
  • Paul Magee
  • Dimitar Stefanov
Part of the Intelligent Systems Reference Library book series (ISRL, volume 167)


This chapter describes how design has been applied to the development of a system for supporting the prescription of wheelchairs. With an ageing population there is likely to be a continued rise in wheelchair usage, as well as wheelchair modifications for specific needs such as specialist seating and the addition of assistive devices. Ensuring the ease of use, stability, safety and performance of wheelchairs both occupied by, and attended to by older adults is an important consideration. This chapter describes the design methods employed in the development of WheelSense®, a system for use by wheelchair prescribers to support the assessment, adaptation and tuning of wheelchairs to meet individual needs. The system development has required a multidisciplinary approach bringing together designers, engineers, human factors specialists, clinical specialists alongside end-users and stakeholders. The resulting WheelSense® system combines electronics and a weighing system in a folding platform. It is supported by a handheld device and graphic user interface (GUI) for guiding the prescription process, enabling data entry and to support education of the wheelchair user chair.


Interdisciplinary design Stability assessment Wheelchair prescription Load-cell Optimising wheelchair performance User-centred design 



The Wheelchair Stability Assessment System (Wheel-SAS) project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Invention for Innovation (i4i) stream (Grant II-AR-0209-10099.). The user needs, and design work was approved by the Coventry University Ethics committee and access to NHS premises and staff was given by the R&D departments of each participating NHS Trust. The system evaluation study was approved by the National Research Ethics Committee, the Research and Development Department of each of the participating NHS Trusts (Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg, South Wales), and the Coventry University Ethics Committee. All participants gave their informed consent prior to participation. We would like to thank those participants as well as our collaborating partners Simon Fielden, Mike Heelis, Paul Dryer, Nigel Shapcott, Jill Evans.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Arts, Memory and Communities, Faculty of Arts and HumanitiesCoventry UniversityCoventryUK
  2. 2.Faculty of Health and Life SciencesCoventry UniversityCoventryUK
  3. 3.School of Science and TechnologyMiddlesex UniversityHendon, LondonUK

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