Wheelchair ergometers facilitate wheelchair related studies as they allow controlled experiments to be performed inside the laboratory. However, the results obtained from these experiments are of limited value unless we use wheelchair ergometers that biomechanically represent real-world wheelchair propulsion. We could not find any wheelchair ergometers in the literature to date, that have been validated considering all of these important biomechanical criteria: Velocity and acceleration, force and moment, trunk swing, inertial effect, energy consumption and the resistive force against propulsion.
In this paper we have considered wheelchair propulsion on an ergometer and have compared it to straight-line floor wheelchair propulsion. From equating these two situations, we have found the necessary conditions to meet the above criteria. Finally, we propose three models for a wheelchair ergometer that satisfies these conditions and will be able to biomechanically represent straight-line floor wheelchair propulsion.