• Article

Evaluation of pushrim-activated power-assisted wheelchairs using ANSI/RESNA standards

OBJECTIVE: To determine and compare performance of pushrim-activated power-assisted wheelchairs (PAPAW) (iGLIDE, e-motion, Xtender) on national standards.

DESIGN: Engineering performance and safety evaluation.

SETTING: A Veteran Affairs and university-based research center.


INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Static, dynamic stability, brake effectiveness, maximum speed, acceleration, retardation, energy consumption, static, impact, and fatigue strength.

RESULTS: There was no significant difference among the 3 models in forward stability. The iGLIDE was the most stable, whereas the e-motion was the least stable model in the rearward stability tests. All PAPAWs performed equally on the slopes of 3 degrees and 6 degrees in the forward and rearward directions. Braking distance was the highest for e-motion (5.64+/-0.28m) and the lowest (1.13+/-0.03m) for the iGLIDE in forward direction. The average equivalent cycles of all PAPAWs were 318,292+/-112,776.6 cycles (n=8) on the fatigue tests. All PAPAWs passed the impact and static strength tests.

CONCLUSIONS: The standards of the American National Standards Institute and the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America could act as quality assurance tool for wheelchairs. The standards for wheelchairs were first approved in 1990; after 17 years, exceeding the minimum values in the standards would be a reasonable expectation.


Karmarkar, A., Cooper, R. A., Liu, H., Connor, S., & Puhlman, J. (2008). Evaluation of pushrim-activated power-assisted wheelchairs using ANSI/RESNA standards. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 89(6), 1191-1198. DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2007.10.029