A novel wheelchair called PURE (Personalized Unique Rolling Experience) that uses hands-free (HF) torso lean-to-steer control has been developed for manual wheelchair users (mWCUs). PURE addresses limitations of current wheelchairs, such as the inability to use both hands for life experiences instead of propulsion. PURE uses a ball-based robot drivetrain to offer a compact, self-balancing, omnidirectional mobile device. A custom sensor system converts rider torso motions into direction and speed commands to control PURE, which is especially useful if a rider has minimal torso range of motion. We explored whether PURE's HF control performed as well as a traditional joystick (JS) human-robot interface and mWCUs, who may have reduced torso motion, performed as well as able-bodied users (ABUs). 10 mWCUs and 10 ABUs were trained and tested to drive PURE through courses replicating indoor environments. Each participant adjusted personal sensitivity settings for both HF and JS control. Repeated-measures MANOVA tests suggested that the effectiveness (number of collisions), efficiency (completion time), comfort (NASA TLX scores except physical demand), and robustness (index of performances) were similar for HF and JS control and between mWCUs and ABUs for all sections. These results suggest that PURE provides an effective method for controlling this new omnidirectional wheelchair by only using torso motion thus leaving both hands to be used for other tasks during propulsion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHRI 2024 - Proceedings of the 2024 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9798400703225
StatePublished - Mar 11 2024
Event19th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI 2024 - Boulder, United States
Duration: Mar 11 2024Mar 15 2024

Publication series

NameACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
ISSN (Electronic)2167-2148


Conference19th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI 2024
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Lean-to-Steer
  • Mobile Robot
  • Mobility Device
  • Self-balancing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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