Effect of Added Mass Location on Manual Wheelchair Propulsion Forces

  • Vitor Alcoléa
  • Fausto Orsi MedolaEmail author
  • Guilherme da Silva Bertolaccini
  • Frode Eika Sandnes
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 1026)


This study investigated the influence of mass distribution on the handrim forces during manual propulsion in four different mobility tasks: straightforward motion at self-selected speed; straightforward sprint; zero radius turn; and circular trajectory. A foldable-frame wheelchair was instrumented with a SmartWheel system placed on the right side. Three different positions of an additional mass of 7.8 kg were investigated: in the center of the rear wheels’ axle; on the spokes of each of the two rear wheels; under the footrest. When mass is added in a centered position, there is little effect on the level of forces required to propel the chair, while when the additional mass is positioned distant to the wheelchair center, namely rear wheels’ spokes and feet support, the effect on propulsion forces is increased. Optimizing wheelchair mobility efficiency requires an understanding on the effects of changes in equipment configuration on propulsion kinetics.


Wheelchairs Propulsion kinetics Mass distribution Mobility Wheelchair configuration 



The authors would like to thank FAPESP (Sao Paulo Research Foundation) for the financial support (Process. 16/05026-6 and Process).


  1. 1.
    Kabra, C., Jaiswal, R., Arnold, G., Abboud, R., Wang, W.: Analysis of hand pressures related to wheelchair rim sizes and upper-limb movement. Int. J. Ind. Ergon. 47, 45–52 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rossignoli, I., Fernández-Cuevas, I., Benito, P.J., Herrero, A.J.: Relationship between shoulder pain and skin temperature measured by infrared thermography in a wheelchair propulsion test. Infrared Phys. Technol. 76, 251–258 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lui, J., MacGillivray, M.K., Sheel, A.W., Jeyasurya, J., Sadeghi, M., Sawatzky, B.J.: Mechanical efficiency of two commercial lever-propulsion mechanisms for manual wheelchair locomotion. J. Rehabil. Res. Dev. 50(10), 1363–1372 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Howarth, S.J., Polgar, J.M., Dickerson, C.R., Callaghan, J.P.: Trunk muscle activity during wheelchair ramp ascent and the influence of a geared wheel on the demands of postural control. Arch. Phys. Med. Rehabil. 91(3), 436–442 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lighthall-Haubert, L., Requejo, P.S., Mulroy, S.J., Newsam, C.J., Bontrager, E., Gronley, J.K., Perry, J.: Comparison of shoulder muscle electromyographic activity during standard manual wheelchair and push-rim activated power assisted wheelchair propulsion in persons with complete tetraplegia. Arch. Phys. Med. Rehabil. 90(11), 1904–1915 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Medola, F.O., Purquerio, B.M., Elui, V.M., Fortulan, C.A.: Conceptual project of a servo-controlled power-assisted wheelchair. In: IEEE RAS & EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics, pp. 450–454. IEEE (2014)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lahr, G.J.G., Medola, F.O., Sandnes, F.E., Elui, V.M.C., Fortulan, C.A.: Servomotor assistance in the improvement of manual wheelchair mobility. Stud. Health Technol. Inf. 242, 786–792 (2017)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Medola, F.O., Bertolaccini, G.S., Silva, S.R.M., Lahr, G.J.G., Elui, V.M.C., Fortulan, C.A.: Biomechanical and perceptual evaluation of the use of a servo-controlled power-assistance system in manual wheelchair mobility. In: International Symposium on Medical Robotics (ISMR) (2018)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Medola, F.O., Elui, V.M.C., Santana, C.S., Fortulan, C.A.: Aspects of manual wheelchair configuration affecting mobility: a review. J. Phys. Ther. Sci. 26(2), 313–318 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sprigle, S., Huang, M.: Impact of mass and weight distribution on manual wheelchair propulsion torque. Assist. Technol. 27(4), 226–235 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Morrow, M.M., Hurd, W.J., Kaufman, K.R., An, K.N.: Shoulder demands in manual wheelchair users across a spectrum of activities. J. Electromyogr. Kinesiol. 20(1), 61–67 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Medola, F.O., Dao, P.V., Caspall, J.J., Sprigle, S.: Partitioning kinetic energy during freewheeling wheelchair maneuvers. IEEE Trans. Neural Syst. Rehabil. Eng. 22(2), 326–333 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Medola, F.O., Busto, R.M., Marçal, A.M., Achour Junior, A., Dourado, A.C.: Sports on quality of life of individuals with spinal cord injury: a case series. Rev. Bras. Med. Esporte 17(4), 254–256 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vitor Alcoléa
    • 1
  • Fausto Orsi Medola
    • 2
    Email author
  • Guilherme da Silva Bertolaccini
    • 2
  • Frode Eika Sandnes
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringSao Paulo State University (UNESP)BauruBrazil
  2. 2.Department of DesignSao Paulo State University (UNESP)BauruBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceOslo Metropolitan UniversityOsloNorway
  4. 4.Department of TechnologyKristiania University CollegeOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations