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Design and development of a robotic self-transfer device for wheelchair users

R. Hari Krishnan (School of Mechanical Engineering, SASTRA University, Thanjavur, India)
S. Pugazhenthi (School of Mechanical Engineering, SASTRA University, Thanjavur, India)

Journal of Enabling Technologies

ISSN: 2398-6263

Article publication date: 19 June 2017




Wheelchair users face great difficulty in transferring themselves from one surface to another, for example from wheelchair to a toilet commode. In such cases, mostly a caregiver’s assistance may be required, but it affects one’s dignity. The purpose of this paper is to develop a robotic self-transfer device, which is aimed at offering privacy and independence to people with lower limb disabilities in performing daily activities.


The device, attached to a powered wheelchair, is useful in transferring a user from a wheelchair to a toilet commode or any other surface following simple and natural transfer procedure without the need of any caregiver. The user can achieve transfer by operating joysticks. The device employs two linear actuators and a motor to accomplish the transfer. Trials were carried out to test the performance of the device by involving potential beneficiaries.


The device could successfully transfer the participants from a wheelchair to a chair with less effort in less than a minute. The results of the trials show that the participants felt comfortable in using the device. It was also found that the device is superior to other existing transfer systems in terms of comfort and operation.


The existing self-transfer systems are alternative solutions that serve the purpose of mobility coupled with self-transfer. Instead of developing an alternative mobility solution, this paper proposes a novel design of a self-transfer device that can be used as an attachment to wheelchair.



The authors are grateful to Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, for the financial support (SB/S3/MMER/0068/2013) to the project titled “Design and development of a wheelchair-based assistive robotic system with self-transfer facility,” Modern Physiotherapy Clinic, Thanjavur for their expert opinion and the workshop of SASTRA University for the fabrication of the device.


Hari Krishnan, R. and Pugazhenthi, S. (2017), "Design and development of a robotic self-transfer device for wheelchair users", Journal of Enabling Technologies, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 59-72.



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