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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 512965, 6 pages
Research Article

Evaluation of Motor Performances of Hemiplegic Patients Using a Virtual Cycling Wheelchair: An Exploratory Trial

1Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8579, Japan
2Cyberscience Center, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8578, Japan
3Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8575, Japan
4Sendai School of Health and Welfare, Sendai, Miyagi 981-3206, Japan

Received 27 September 2013; Accepted 2 November 2013

Academic Editor: Takashi Watanabe

Copyright © 2013 Norihiro Sugita 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.


Cycling is known to be an effective rehabilitation exercise for hemiplegic patients who face difficulty during walking because of stroke or other brain disorders. A cycling wheelchair (CWC) is a useful tool to provide exercise for these patients and improve their quality of life. In previous studies, our group developed a system that allows patients to safely practice driving a CWC in a virtual environment. However, it has been difficult to check their motor performances and determine the effects of the exercise on a daily basis. This study is an exploratory trial for developing a method to evaluate the motor performances of users based on their CWC pedaling patterns. An experiment with some hemiplegic patients and healthy subjects was conducted and their pedaling patterns were analyzed. Results showed a significant difference between the hemiplegic patients and healthy subjects in an index that reflects pedaling balance between the feet. This result indicates a possible method of evaluating the motor performances of users based on their pedaling patterns.