Modeling of dynamic seat and backrest adjustments for manual wheelchairs

During an average day, a wheelchair user will be required to undertake a variety of different tasks. However, wheelchairs are usually designed in a fixed configuration and cannot adapt to different situations. Models such as PDG Mobility’s “Elevation” wheelchair address this issue by allowing users to adjust their position while still seated. We aim to research the effects of these seat configuration changes on wheelchair stability and maneuverability. From the results, the adaptability of wheelchairs for different settings can be assessed, and subsequently used to educate wheelchair users, therapists, manufacturers and funders on the new functionality and benefits available. Improving wheelchair user safety and mobility follows the mandate of the Rick Hansen Institute, the partner for this project, which is to accelerate the translation of discoveries and best practices into improved outcomes for people with spinal cord injuries.

Faculty Supervisor:

Carolyn Sparrey


Louise Thomas


Rick Hansen Institute


Engineering - mechanical


Medical devices


Simon Fraser University



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