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IC41 The Impact of Manual Wheelchair Design & Configuration on Propulsion Torque

Program ID Number: CRS000709
CEU Course ID: P291.15
Webinar Length of Time: 1.0 hour

Link to view the lecture presentation:


Wheelchair users maneuver using bouts of activity that are characterized by changes in speed and direction. From a mechanical perspective, two factors, friction and inertia, influence the effort required to maneuver wheelchairs. Clinicians and users make many decisions when selecting and configuring a wheelchair that impact the friction and inertia of the wheelchair system.  This session will discuss how different wheelchair designs and configurations influence propulsion effort based upon the use of a wheelchair-propelling robot.


Learning Objectives:



Stephen Sprigle, PhD, PT
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA
United States

Stephen Sprigle is a biomedical engineer and holds a license in physical therapy. He is a Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, holding appointments in the Schools of Applied Physiology and Industrial Design and the Graduate Bioengineering Program. Dr. Sprigle directs the Rehabilitation Engineering and Applied Research Lab, an applied disability research lab with interests in the biomechanics of wheelchair seating and posture, pressure ulcer prevention, standardized wheelchair and cushion testing and assistive technology design.

Note: Faculty for this activity have been required to disclose all relationships with any proprietary entity producing health care goods or services, with the exemption of nonprofit or government organizations and non-healthcare related companies.

* No conflicts have been disclosed.



  1. Medola, F., et al., Partitioning Kinetic Energy during Freewheeling Wheelchair Maneuvers. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng, 2013.
  2. Caspall JJ, Seligsohn E, Dao PV, & Sprigle S. (2013). Changes in inertia and effect on turning effort across different wheelchair configurations. J Rehabil Res Dev, 50(10). doi:
  3. Sonenblum, S. E., Sprigle, S., & Lopez, R. A. (2012). Manual Wheelchair Use: Bouts of Mobility in Everyday Life. Rehabilitation Research and Practice, 2012, 7. doi: 10.1155/2012/753165


Updated | 06.25.2015