Step counter for manual wheelchair users

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Many wheelchair users do not get enough physical activity due to their limited mobility, which can lead to various lifestyle‐related illnesses and impaired quality of life in general. The opportunity for monitoring and tracking fitness‐related metrics tends to increase physical activity motivation and self‐efficacy among users. Devices and apps for activity tracking are becoming increasingly popular. However, they are designed for people without movement impairments. Some attempts have been made to adapt existing activity tracking systems for wheelchair users but assessing physical activity in manual wheelchair users is challenging because of their different movement patterns in relation to the walking population. Our aim is to develop a step counter for wheelchair users that counts the equivalent of a walking person’s step via the user’s pushes, and thereby giving them the same opportunity to track their physical activity as the rest of the population. The project is a collaboration between University College of Northern Denmark, the wheelchair manufacturer Wolturnus and the Sports Association for the Disabled in Aalborg. We equip the wheelchair with sensors for measuring force, acceleration and distance, thereby utilizing the unique situation of having a physical platform (the wheelchair) for mounting sensors for activity tracking. Data is transmitted via Bluetooth Low‐Energy to the mobile device for movement and activity classification. The mobile device is also used for displaying a step count and for user interaction. Based on our initial findings, we have observed that detecting pushes is feasible using load cells mounted on each wheel. We are also able to discern the type of push and direction. This is an ongoing project and prospects include aggregation of data from multiple wheelchair users for validating our algorithm for activity tracking of different users' profiles
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event24th Rehabilitation World Congress 2021 (online): Moving Societies - Virtuel, Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 7 Sept 20219 Sept 2021


Conference24th Rehabilitation World Congress 2021 (online)
Internet address

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