Active wheelchair

Dima Politin

Dima designed a concept for a novel product for wheelchair users to improve physical activity and sedentary behaviour.

Wheelchair users are at increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, pressure ulcers and musculoskeletal problems. To reduce these risks, wheelchair users should be as active as possible, take pressure off their buttocks frequently and maintain good posture. However, many wheelchair users find it difficult to follow these recommendations.

The study found that the use of a wheel- chair and smartphone application could help persuade users to improve their behaviour using the motivational principles of self-monitoring, data visualisation, goal setting, coaching, reward and social interaction. The user interaction for both products was developed and tested using digital and rapid prototyping. A total of three prototypes were developed to test the design features. The study found that the features did have a motivational effect on people. (However, future research with a fully functional prototype should prove their effectiveness over time).

Finally, a novel concept was developed by integrating the wheelchair interface and feasible technology into a design for a wheelchair armrest. The interface stimulates physical activity and aims to improve the quality of life of wheelchair users.

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