Lightweight, durable, adjustable composite backrest

Period of Performance: 01/01/2004 - 12/31/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Accessible Designs, Inc.
San Antonio, TX 78216
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


We have designed a lightweight, sturdy, user adjustable ergonomically designed backrest support for ultralight weight wheelchairs that will provide necessary postural support and provide a variety of positions to ease dressing, propulsion, and seated comfort. The backrest will improve user comfort, function, and posture during multiple activities of daily living. The innovative design will enable the user to adjust the backrest position while seated in their wheelchair. The benefits of the design are lightweight, high strength, adjustability and durability. The backrest will be adaptable to most ultralight manual wheelchairs. The backrest will be designed with a battery of features that benefit the user including height selection, backrest angle adjustment, backrest to axle positioning, and lumber support. The purpose of the proposed research is to create and test prototypes to identify issues that need to be addressed to develop a practical commercial device. The prototypes will be tested to insure that 1) its dimensions fit a wide variety of ultralight wheelchairs, 2) it meets of exceeds currently approved ANSI/RESNA wheelchair and seating standards, and 3) it performs equivalently of better than other comparable manual wheelchair backrests on ANSI/RESNA tests. A consumer and clinician focus group will evaluate the prototype models and their feedback will be incorporated into the design to be tested to the ANSI/RESNA standards. Consumer testing will begin in Phase II to evaluate the effectiveness and practicality of the device in the end-user's environment.