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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 5963432, 7 pages
Research Article

Comparison of Healthcare Workers Transferring Patients Using Either Conventional Or Robotic Wheelchairs: Kinematic, Electromyographic, and Electrocardiographic Analyses

1Rehabilitation Division, Tottori University Hospital, Nishi-cho 36-1, Yonago, Tottori 683-8504, Japan
2Center for Promoting Next-Generation Highly Advanced Medicine, Tottori University Hospital, Nishi-cho 36-1, Yonago, Tottori 683-8504, Japan
3Department of Data Science, The Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Midori-cho 10-3, Tachikawa, Tokyo 190-8562, Japan
4School of Health Science, Faculty of Medicine, Tottori University, Nishi-cho 86, Yonago, Tottori 683-8503, Japan

Received 5 January 2016; Revised 13 April 2016; Accepted 26 April 2016

Academic Editor: Feng-Huei Lin

Copyright © 2016 Hiromi Matsumoto 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.


Objectives. The aim of this study was to compare the musculoskeletal and physical strain on healthcare workers, by measuring range of motion (ROM), muscle activity, and heart rate (HR), during transfer of a simulated patient using either a robotic wheelchair (RWC) or a conventional wheelchair (CWC). Methods. The subjects were 10 females who had work experience in transferring patients and another female adult as the simulated patient to be transferred from bed to a RWC or a CWC. In both experimental conditions, ROM, muscle activity, and HR were assessed in the subjects using motion sensors, electromyography, and electrocardiograms. Results. Peak ROM of shoulder flexion during assistive transfer with the RWC was significantly lower than that with the CWC. Values for back muscle activity during transfer were lower with the RWC than with the CWC. Conclusions. The findings suggest that the RWC may decrease workplace injuries and lower back pain in healthcare workers.