Increasing Personal Mobility for Wheelchair Users in Developing Countries - a Wheelchair Prototype Evaluation Study in Indonesia
Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet), 2015
Wheelchairs are one of the most commonly used assistive devices for increasing personal mobility, and an estimated 1% of the world population is currently in need of a wheelchair. Approximately 80% of the world population currently live in developing countries and being a wheelchair rider in such context differs substantially from an industrialized context. Developing wheelchairs that can handle this rather different environment means complex trade-offs for designers. This paper presents the results of a wheelchair prototype evaluation in Indonesia. The prototype had rough terrain features and the possibility to alter the seat into two different positions while riding. The backmost position was for normal riding, while the foremost both translates the centre of gravity 100 mm forward and changed the seat angle from twelve degrees to four degrees. This was to help users to overcome inclined slopes as small hills and ramps to access buildings, facilitate transfer procedures and to provide an ergonomically more beneficial posture when sitting at a table. The study showed that primarily paraplegic users could benefit from the alternating seat functionality, but that users with polio or amputated lower limbs also could be prospect users depending on their individual preferences. However, further similar studies are needed before this technology could be fully introduced to the market.