A Cross-Sectional Study Using Wireless Electrocardiogram to Investigate Physical Workload of Wheelchair Control in Real World Environments

  • Shawn JoshiEmail author
  • Roxana Ramirez Herrera
  • Daniella Nicole Springett
  • Benjamin David Weedon
  • Dafne Zuleima Morgado Ramirez
  • Catherine Holloway
  • Hasan Ayaz
  • Helen Dawes
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 953)


The wheelchair is a key invention that provides individuals with limitations in mobility increased independence and participation in society. However, wheelchair control is a complicated motor task that increases physical and mental workload. New wheelchair interfaces, including power-assisted devices can further enable users by reducing the required effort especially in more demanding environments. The protocol engaged novice wheelchair users to push a wheelchair with and without power assist in a simple and complex environment using wireless Electrocardiogram (ECG) to approximate heart rate (HR). Results indicated that HR determined from ECG data, decreased with use of the power-assist. The use of power-assist however did reduce behavioral performance, particularly within obstacles that required more control.


Wheelchair Power-assist Heart rate Wireless Real-world Cognitive workload Disability 



We would like to thank Jamie Whitty and Joel Chappell of the School of Architecture from Oxford Brookes University, for constructing our ramps, Ian Allen, the Oxford Brookes sports booking coordinator, for helping us with numerous appointments, and our research assistants Cyrus Goodger, Jessica Andrich, and JoJo Dawes. This research was funded through the Adaptive Assistive Rehabilitative Technologies – Beyond the Clinic grant by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M025543/1). SJ is additionally supported by the Fulbright US-UK Commission. HD is supported by the Elizabeth Casson Trust and received support from the NIHR Oxford health Biomedical Research Centre. Additional support provided by CONACYT (National Council of Science and Technology in Mexico).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shawn Joshi
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  • Roxana Ramirez Herrera
    • 6
  • Daniella Nicole Springett
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Benjamin David Weedon
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Dafne Zuleima Morgado Ramirez
    • 6
    • 7
  • Catherine Holloway
    • 6
    • 7
  • Hasan Ayaz
    • 1
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
  • Helen Dawes
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health SystemsDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.College of MedicineDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Movement Science GroupOxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK
  4. 4.Oxford Institute of Nursing, Midwifery, and Allied Health ResearchOxfordUK
  5. 5.Nuffield Department of Clinical NeurosciencesOxford UniversityOxfordUK
  6. 6.UCL Interaction CentreUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  7. 7.Global Disability Innovation HubLondonUK
  8. 8.Department of Family and Community HealthUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  9. 9.Center for Injury Research and Prevention, Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhialdelphiaUSA
  10. 10.Drexel Business Solution InstituteDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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