Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Rajiv Dubey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Glen Besterfield, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Eason, Ph.D.


manipulator, assistive, workstation, mobile, design


The goal of this thesis is the kinematic analysis and evaluation of wheelchair mounted robotic arms. More specifically, to address the kinematics of the wheelchair mounted robotic arm (WMRA) with respect to its ability to reach positions commonly required by an assistive device in activities of daily living (ADL).

A robotic manipulator attached to a power wheelchair could enhance the manipulation functions of an individual with a disability. In this thesis, a procedure is developed for the kinematic analysis and evaluation of a wheelchair mounted robotic arm. In addition to developing the analytical procedure, the manipulator is evaluated, and design recommendations and insights are obtained.

At this time there exist both commercially-available and industrial wheelchair mountable robotic manipulators. The commercially-available manipulators (of which two will be addressed in this research) have been designed specifically for use in rehabilitation robotics. In contrast, industrial robotic manipulators are designed for speed, precision, and endurance. These traits are not required in assistive robots and can actually be dangerous to the operator if mounted onto a wheelchair. Manipulators to be used as WMRAs must be designed specifically for assistive functions in order to be utilized as a wheelchair mounted robotic arm.

In an effort to evaluate two commercial manipulators, the procedure for kinematic analysis is applied to each manipulator. Design recommendations with regard to each device are obtained. This method will benefit the researchers by providing a standardized procedure for kinematic analysis of WMRAs that is capable of evaluating independent designs.