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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 198476, 9 pages
Research Article

Design and User Evaluation of a Wheelchair Mounted Robotic Assisted Transfer Device

1Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, 6425 Penn Avenue, Suite 400, Pittsburgh, PA 15232, USA
2Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, 6425 Penn Avenue, Suite 400, Pittsburgh, PA 15232, USA

Received 11 April 2014; Revised 18 July 2014; Accepted 18 July 2014

Academic Editor: Andrew H. Hansen

Copyright © 2015 Garrett G. Grindle et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. The aim of this study is to describe the robotic assisted transfer device (RATD) and an initial focus group evaluation by end users. The purpose of the device is to aid in the transfers of people with disabilities to and from their electric powered wheelchair (EPW) onto other surfaces. The device can be used for both stand-pivot transfers and fully dependent transfers, where the person being transferred is in a sling and weight is fully on the robot. The RATD is fixed to an EPW to allow for its use in community settings. Method. A functional prototype of the RATD was designed and fabricated. The prototype was presented to a group of 16 end users and feedback on the device was obtained via a survey and group discussion. Results. Thirteen out of sixteen (83%) participants agreed that it was important to develop this type of technology. They also indicated that user, caregiver, and robotic controls were important features to be included in the device. Conclusions. Participants in this study suggested that they would be accepting the use of robotic technology for transfers and a majority did not feel that they would be embarrassed to use this technology.