New portable voice guidance device for the manual wheelchair transfer: a pilot study in patients with hemiplegia

Taiki Yoshida, Yohei Otaka, Rieko Osu, Kahori Kita, Sachiko Sakata, Kunitsugu Kondo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Older and/or cognitively impaired patients require verbal guidance to prevent accidents during wheelchair operation, thus increasing the burden on caregivers. This study aimed to develop a new portable voice guidance device for manual wheelchairs and examine its clinical usefulness. Method: We developed a portable voice guidance device to monitor the statuses of wheelchair brakes and footrests and automatically provide voice guidance for operation. The device comprises a microcomputer, four magnets and magnetic sensors, speaker and battery. Device operation was assessed during the transfer from a wheelchair to bed six times per day over three days for a total of 90 transfers in five stroke patients (mean age: 79.6 years) who required verbal guidance to direct wheelchair operation. Device usability was also assessed using a questionnaire. Results: The device performed perfectly during all attempted transfers (100%). To ensure safety, the assessor needed to add verbal guidance during 33 of 90 attempted transfers (36.6%). Overall, the device usability was favourable. However, some assessors were unsatisfied with the volume of the device voice, guidance timing and burden reduction. Conclusions: Our device could facilitate wheelchair operation and might potentially be used to reduce fall risk in stroke patients and the burden on caregivers. Implications for Rehabilitation The acquisition of transfer independence is an important step in the rehabilitation of patients with mobility issues. Many patients require supervision and guidance regarding the operation of brakes and footrests on manual wheelchairs. This newly developed voice guidance device for manual wheelchair transfers worked well in patients with hemiplegia and might be helpful to reduce the fall risks and the burden of care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-416
Number of pages6
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19-05-2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing


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