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Work. 2018 Nov 27. doi: 10.3233/WOR-182829. [Epub ahead of print]

Analysis for the design of a novel integrated framework for the return to work of wheelchair users.

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Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy.
Institute of Industrial Technologies and Automation, National Research Council, Milan, Italy.
National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work, Budrio, Bologna, Italy.



Return to work represents an important milestone for workers who were injured during a workplace accident, especially if the injury results in needing a wheelchair for locomotion.


The aim of the study was to design a framework for training novice wheelchair users in regaining autonomy in activities of daily living and in the workplace and for providing medical personnel with objective data on users' health and work-related capabilities.


The framework design was accomplished following the "Usability Engineering Life Cycle" model. According to it, three subsequent steps defined as "Know your User", "Competitive Analysis" and "Participatory Design" have been carried out to devise the described framework.


The needs of the end-users of the framework were identified during the first phase; the Competitive Analysis phase addressed standard care solutions, Virtual Reality-based wheelchair simulators, the current methodologies for the assessment of the health condition of people with disability and the use of semantic technologies in human resources. The Participatory Design phase led to the definition of an integrated user-centred framework supporting the return to work of wheelchair users.


The results of this work consists in the design of an innovative training process based on virtual reality scenarios and supported by semantic web technologies. In the near future, the design process will proceed in collaboration with the Italian National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work (INAIL). The whole framework will be then implemented to support the current vocational rehabilitation process within INAIL premises.


ICF; Virtual reality; semantic web; vocational rehabilitation; work reintegration


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