One-Armed Propulsion of the Standard Manual Wheelchair (SMW)


This is a study involving hemiplegics using SMW’s modified with Wijit Driving and Braking Systems (DBS®). This study will utilize a Wijit DBS on one rear wheel only, with electronically controlled casters to steer the chair.


For over 150 years SMWs have been controlled by the occupant operators manipulating both rear wheels with either hand to advance, retreat, turn, maneuver or stop. There has been a long-standing desire and search for an effective one-armed propulsion system for the SMW. The Wijit DBS generates sufficient thrust for one-armed control of the SMW, but lacks the necessary directional control due to the passivity of the front casters. Translating and transmitting the drivers desire to maneuver the wheelchair can be accomplished with directional casters.



Hypothesis:   A Wijit DBS Powered SMW equipped with Servo Mechanized Caster Assemblies will allow one-armed (hemiplegics) operators to steer and propel their wheelchairs. Active independent mobility with its cardiovascular and emotional benefits will become possible for these heretofore isolated wheelchair dependant patients.

Redesign Proposed:   A collaboration of Electrical, Electronic, Bio-Medical, Computer and Mechanical Engineering will transform the Wijit DBS and SMW it powers into an articulate and durable propulsion system for one-armed wheelchair operators. Converting the Wijit DBS propulsion system and the wheelchair transport configuration will require the design and development of three key system features.

  1. Located on the distal end of the Wijit DBS will be the hand controller that directs;
  2. The Servo Controlled Caster Assemblies. Both of which are connected through;
  3. The Interface between the hand controller and casters.

Adaptation Participants:

Watwood, Inc. / Move At The Speed Of Life® Foundation

CSUS, Department of Electrical Engineering, Warren Smith, PHD

U.C. Davis, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou, PHD, P.E.

Los Amigos Rehabilitation and Education Institute (LAREI), Phillip Requejo, PHD