Chairable Computing

Author/Creator ORCID




Information Systems


Human Centered Computing

Citation of Original Publication


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Wheelchairs provide a means to independent mobility for people with motor impairments that impact their legs. For people who also experience upper-body mobility impairments, interacting with computing devices can be challenging due to the nature of hand-held devices and physical interaction requirements. Using a wheelchair can present additional challenges due to the frame obstructing movement or limiting the users' ability to reach objects in their periphery. Assistive technologies (AT) may be used to overcome physical challenges presented by both devices and the wheelchair. However, complex individual differences can make designing AT uniquely challenging as solutions are often designed for one individual and may not generalize. In addition, designing AT for wheelchair users requires a constant consideration of the users' needs, social factors, technological constraints, and the context in which the technology will be used. Many current Assistive technology solutions involving wheelchairs or wheelchair users take on a function-specific approach which ignores much of the social and sometimes contextual factors. This dissertations contributes to the inclusive design of technology through an ability-based approach by developing solutions that expand the perception and expressive capabilities of technology for wheelchair users. This work seeks to improve technology solutions for people with MI who use wheelchairs by leveraging the wheelchair'sexisting features and benefits. Prior research on assistive technologies for wheelchair users does not fully address real world challenges or the mobile experience of using a wheelchair and computing devices. This dissertations introduces the research area of Chairable Computing, supported by an understanding of wheelchair users needs. Findings from the design of a wheelchair-based gesture-input device, as well as an exploration of activity monitoring for wheelchair athletes, are presented. Our work contributes to the development of appropriate solutions that integrate with existing assistive technologies and wheelchair users? lifestyles.