About the Discipline
Overcoming uneven terrain and stairs with a wheelchair
People who use a powered wheelchair for personal mobility are often confronted with challenges in their daily lives. Individual steps, flights of stairs, or uneven terrain can pose big obstacles. Depending on a wheelchair user’s function of the trunk and arms, it can also be very difficult to open and close a door or to pick up an object from the ground. Users must often rely on help from a third party to overcome such situations. Recently, technologies such as stair-climbing mechanisms have been developed to provide support in some of the situations mentioned above. However, these technologies are often developed for specific tasks only and their function cannot be applied to other situations. The addition of technologies such as stair-climbing mechanisms to powered wheelchairs has the promising potential to improve the personal mobility of people with a severe walking disability in daily life.
As a rule, the competition tasks will include a greater level of uncertainty about the exact structure or exact arrangement of the various objects, e.g., variable patterns of stones and unevenness in rough terrain, or stairs of varying step height and/or angles. Manipulating objects that are related to personal mobility, such as opening and closing a door, are likewise included in the wheelchair race. Seat height adjustment will be advantageous in some tasks.
Who can participate?
People who have a severe walking disability due to any kind of central nervous system disease or injury, any neural or muscular disease, or bilateral above-knee amputation.
Both actuated wheelchairs and manual wheelchairs that are powered by an external device are allowed. The wheelchair can be operated in manual, semi-autonomous or autonomous mode. Input devices can include any standard or novel technology, e.g., a hand joystick, a tongue-operated drive, a touchpad, or any other technology. Load transfer to the ground can occur using wheels, tracks, or other means. Robots with legs or wheels are also allowed. The use of any technical aids such as ultrasound to collect information about the environment is also permitted.
Information for Teams:
Are you a member of a team or interested in more detailed information, click here.