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Development and validation of a physical activity monitor for use on a wheelchair

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Lynn Rochester


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Study design: Keeping physically active is important for people who mobilize using a wheelchair. However, current tools to measure physical activity in the wheelchair are either not validated or limited in their application. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a monitoring system to measure wheelchair movement. Methods: The system developed consisted of a tri-axial accelerometer placed on the wheel of a wheelchair and an analysis algorithm to interpret the acceleration signals. The two accelerometer outputs in the plane of the wheel were used to calculate the angle of the wheel. From this, outcome measures of wheel revolutions, absolute angle and duration of movement were derived and the direction of movement (forwards or backwards) could be distinguished. Concurrent validity was assessed in comparison with video analysis in 14 people with spinal cord injury using their wheelchair on an indoor track and outdoor wheelchair skills course. Validity was assessed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC(2,1)) and Bland-Altman plots. Results: The monitoring system demonstrated excellent validity for wheel revolutions, absolute angle and duration of movement (ICC(2,1) > 0.999, 0.999, 0.981, respectively) in both manual and powered wheelchairs, when the wheelchair was propelled forwards and backwards, and for movements of various durations. Conclusion: This study has found this monitoring system to be an accurate and objective tool for measuring detailed information on wheelchair movement and manoeuvring regardless of the propulsion technique, direction and speed. Spinal Cord (2011) 49, 445-450; doi:10.1038/sc.2010.126; published online 21 September 2010

Publication metadata

Author(s): Coulter EH, Dall PM, Rochester L, Hasler JP, Granat MH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Spinal Cord

Year: 2011

Volume: 49

Issue: 3

Pages: 445-450

Print publication date: 01/03/2011

ISSN (print): 1362-4393

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5624

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/sc.2010.126


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