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Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin. 2018 Nov 6:1-9. doi: 10.1080/10255842.2018.1527321. [Epub ahead of print]

Forward dynamic optimization of handle path and muscle activity for handle based isokinetic wheelchair propulsion: A simulation study.

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a Research Division for Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Engineering , TU Wien , Vienna , Austria.


Push-rim wheelchair propulsion is biomechanically inefficient and physiologically stressful to the musculoskeletal structure of human body. This study focuses to obtain a new, optimized propulsion shape for wheelchair users, which is within the ergonomic ranges of joint motion, thus reducing the probability of injuries. To identify the propulsion movement, forward dynamic optimization was performed on a 3D human musculoskeletal model linked to a handle based propulsion mechanism, having shape and muscle excitations as optimization variables. The optimization resulted in a handle path shape with a circularity ratio of 0.95, and produced a net propulsion power of 34.7 watts for an isokinetic propulsion cycle at 50 rpm. Compared to push-rim propulsion, the compact design of the new propulsion mechanism along with the ergonomically optimized propulsion shape may help to reduce the risk of injuries and thus improve the quality of life for wheelchair users.


Wheelchair propulsion; dynamic optimization; handle-based propulsion; musculoskeletal modelling

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