Brief Report  |   February 2016
Innovative Power Wheelchair Control Interface: A Proof-of-Concept Study
Author Affiliations
  • Sandra L. Winkler, PhD, OTR/L, is Research Health Science Specialist, James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital, Center of Innovation in Disabilities and Rehabilitation Research, Tampa, FL; sandra.winkler@va.gov
  • Sergio Romero, PhD, is Research Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Florida, Gainesville
  • Emily Prather, OTR, is Occupational Therapist, University of Colorado Health at Memorial Hospital, Colorado Springs
  • Marisa Ramroop, OTR, is Graduate, Department of Occupational Therapy, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Emmy Slaibe, OTR, is Occupational Therapist, St. Catherine’s West Rehabilitation Hospital, Miami, FL
  • Matthew Christensen, MS, is CAD Engineer, ConforMIS, Inc., Boston, MA
Article Information
Assistive Technology / Community Mobility and Driving / Musculoskeletal Impairments / Neurologic Conditions / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Professional Issues / Splinting / Departments / Brief Report
Brief Report   |   February 2016
Innovative Power Wheelchair Control Interface: A Proof-of-Concept Study
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 2016, Vol. 70, 7002350010p1-7002350010p5. doi:10.5014/ajot.2016.015750
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 2016, Vol. 70, 7002350010p1-7002350010p5. doi:10.5014/ajot.2016.015750
Abstract

Some people without independent mobility are candidates for powered mobility but are unable to use a traditional power wheelchair joystick. This proof-of-concept study tested and further developed an innovative method of driving power wheelchairs for people whose impairments prevent them from operating commercial wheelchair controls. Our concept, Self-referenced Personal Orthotic Omni-purpose Control Interface (SPOOCI), is distinguished by referencing the control sensor not to the wheelchair frame but instead to the adjacent proximal lower-extremity segment via a custom-formed orthosis. Using a descriptive case-series design, we compared the pre–post functional power wheelchair driving skill data of 4 participants, measured by the Power Mobility Program, using descriptive analyses. The intervention consisted of standard-care power wheelchair training during 12 outpatient occupational or physical therapy sessions. All 4 participants who completed the 12-wk intervention improved their functional power wheelchair driving skills using SPOOCI, but only 3 were deemed safe to continue with power wheelchair driving.