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The P-Principles of Personal Mobility Devices for Wheelchair Users - Erik Kondo

When it comes to personal mobility devices for Wheelchair-Users, there are a few important principals to consider. In general, the more of the following P-Principals that are present, the more desirable the mobility device will be. The P-Principals are intended to assist designers of adaptive mobility devices create successful products.

While these P-Principals refer to adaptive mobility devices for Wheelchair-Users. All mobility devices are inherently adapted for the human body. Therefore, the P-Principals apply to all personal mobility devices regardless of the existence of a disability.


People want devices that enable participation in everyday life and recreational activities. Whether or not the activity is done in the company of others or solo, people want to be able to do engage activities they find enjoyable. Desirable mobility devices assist people to do the things they want to do. Some examples: Going on a bike ride, out rollerblading, or four-wheeling.


Desirable mobility devices enhance human performance. They provide people with the ability to perform in a manner that they would be unable to without the device. The greater the level of performance enabled, the higher the value associated with the device. The road biking industry is an example of the importance of Performance.


Mobility is not always just about getting from point A to point B. People seek out mobility experiences for the fun of them, along with the practical need of getting from place to place. Skateboarding, skiing, and mountain biking exemplify the joy of movement incorporated into a mobility device.


How many times have you seen someone proudly showing off his or her beautiful mobility device. The owner usually jumps at the chance to explain each “cool” feature of the device. Look no further than weekend car shows to see this P-Principal in action.


Device for personal mobility need to be able to be used wherever the user is or is going. That means the device usually must be transported from place to place to provide the most use. A portable device is easy to bring from one location to another. There is usually a tradeoff between increasing the portability of a device at the expense of the other P-Principals.


For the maximum amount of people to be able to obtain a mobility device, it needs to be priced affordably. Yes, there are popular luxury devices for the few. But the most popular personal mobility devices in the world are reliably low cost. Bicycles and skateboards are two examples.


Practicality refers to a device’s functional ability. There are some devices that violate many of the above P-Principals, but are still successful since they serve a unique purpose. For example, a wheelchair commode that stays in one’s house provides a specific function. Generally speaking, whether or not something is practical is highly subjective to specific scenario. Therefore, practicality is usually in the eye of the beholder.


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