A cross-sectional study using wireless electrocardiogram to investigate physical workload of wheelchair control in real world environments

S Joshi, Herrera R Ramirez, DN Springett, BD Weedon, Ramirez DZ Morgado, Catherine Holloway, H Ayaz, H Dawes
in AHFE 2019 International Conference on Neuroergonomics and Cognitive Engineering, and the AHFE International Conference on Industrial Cognitive Ergonomics and Engineering Psychology, Conference paper (text), Washington D.C., USA

Abstract

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020. The wheelchair is a key invention that provides individuals with limitations in mobility increased independence and participation in society. However, wheelchair control is a complicated motor task that increases physical and mental workload. New wheelchair interfaces, including power-assisted devices can further enable users by reducing the required effort especially in more demanding environments. The protocol engaged novice wheelchair users to push a wheelchair with and without power assist in a simple and complex environment using wireless Electrocardiogram (ECG) to approximate heart rate (HR). Results indicated that HR determined from ECG data, decreased with use of the power-assist. The use of power-assist however did reduce behavioral performance, particularly within obstacles that required more control.