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Functional Reach Capability for Wheeled Mobility Users

Functional Reach Capability for Wheeled Mobility Users
Clive D’Souza1, Edward Steinfeld1, Victor Paquet1, and David Feathers2
1IDEA Center, University at Buffalo; 2Design & Environmental Analysis, Cornell University

Functional reach of a hand towards an objectAbstract: An understanding of functional reach capability of wheeled mobility users is required when designing tasks that involve picking and/or placing of objects (e.g., shopping aisles, kitchen shelves) or selecting the optimal locations for controls, devices and objects in the built environment (e.g., elevator buttons, light switches).



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Accessibility Standards Documents

U.S. Access Board, 2004. Americans with Disabilities Act and Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities. Washington, DC: U.S. Access Board. Retrieved February 17, 2010, from


Anthropometry Research Studies

Kirby, R. L., Chari, V. R., 1990. Prostheses and the forward reach of sitting lower-limb amputees. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vol. 71, pg. 125

Jarosz, E., 1996. Determination of the workspace of wheelchair users. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, Vol. 17, pg. 123-133.

Li, S., Xi, Z., 1990. The measurement of functional arm reach envelopes for young Chinese males. Ergonomics, Vol. 33, No. 7, pg. 967-978.

Nowak, E., 1989. Workspace for disabled people. Ergonomics, Vol. 9, pg. 1077-1088.


Relevant IDEA Center Publications

D'Souza, C., Steinfeld, E. & Paquet, V. Functional reach abilities of wheeled mobility device users: towards inclusive design. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Inclusive Design, INCLUDE 2009, ISBN 987-905000-80-7, Royal College of Art, London, UK, April 2009a.

D'Souza, C., Steinfeld, E. & Paquet, V. Functional reach for wheeled mobility device users: A comparison with ADA-ABA guidelines for accessibility. In Proceedings of the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America (RESNA) Annual Conference 2009, New Orleans, June 2009b.

Polzin, J. (2003). The impact of weighted reaches on maximum and comfortable reach distances. Unpublished Masters Thesis, University at Buffalo, Department of Industrial Engineering. Steinfeld, E., Maisel, J., Feathers, D., D'Souza, C., 2010. Standards and anthropometry for wheeled mobility. Buffalo: NY: IDEA Center.


Relevant Design Resources

DR #16: Clear floor space when reaching & grasping

DR #17: Knee and toe clearances for wheeled mobility users