There are a reported 1.5 million manual wheelchair users in the U.S. [1]. Current manual wheelchair propulsion is achieved via hand rims that are connected directly to the drive wheels. The wheelchair drive wheels need to be placed behind the user's center of mass to prevent backward tipping. However, shoulder muscle stress and metabolic cost are minimized when the hand rim axle is located anterior to the shoulders [2]. Thus, the current manual wheelchair designs do not allow optimal hand rim positions for the shoulder health and function, potentially leading to chronic overuse injury and pain.

In 2014, the Minneapolis VA Health Care System made a proof-of-concept wheelchair demonstrating the separation of drive wheel and hand rim through the use of a chain drive [3]. The purpose of this project was to design a refined prototype wheelchair that would meet the following main goals:...

You do not currently have access to this content.