Title: An active-caster add-on drive for manual wheelchairs with a drive mode change function

Authors: Yu Munakata; Masayoshi Wada

Addresses: Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, 2-24-16 Naka-cho, Koganei-shi Tokyo, 184-8588, Japan ' Institute of Engineering, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, 2-24-16 Naka-cho, Koganei-shi, Tokyo, 184-8588, Japan

Abstract: This paper presents a motorised system for a wheelchair that uses an add-on single-wheel drive system, which is called an active-caster. The active-caster has two electric motors to rotate the wheel shaft and steering shaft independently. This coordinated control provides an arbitrary velocity vector. Despite the single-wheel drive system, the 2DOF motions of the wheelchair can be controlled independently without any constraints. In addition to 2DOF mobility, the proposed system enables wheelchair users to change between rear and front drive modes. The height of the drive wheel equipped on the back of the wheelchair can be vertically adjusted by a linear motor. When all five wheels are in contact with the ground, the wheelchair moves in normal or rear drive mode. Depressing the drive wheel results in the large wheels losing contact with the ground and causes the centre of rotation to shift to the midpoint of the front casters.

Keywords: active casters; add-on drive systems; drive mode change; manual wheelchairs; single-wheel drive; motorised systems; electric motors; shaft rotation; wheel shaft; steering shaft; motion control.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMA.2014.066365

International Journal of Mechatronics and Automation, 2014 Vol.4 No.4, pp.222 - 235

Received: 20 Sep 2013
Accepted: 14 Mar 2014

Published online: 14 Jan 2015 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article