Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Rajiv Dubey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Glen Besterfield, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Hess, Ph. D.


Wmra, Rehabilitation, Reconfigurable, Machine design, Adl, Assistive


A wheelchair-mounted robotic arm (WMRA) was designed and built to meet the needs of mobility-impaired persons, and to exceed the capabilities of current devices of this type. The mechanical design incorporates DC servo drive, with all actuator hardware at each individual joint, allowing reconfigurable link lengths. It has seven principal degrees of freedom and uses a side mount on a power wheelchair. A simple, scalable control system allows coordinated Cartesian control, and offers expandability for future research, such as coordinated motion with the wheelchair itself. Design payload including gripper is 6 kg, and the total arm mass with controller is 14 kg. These and other design attributes were confirmed through testing on the completed prototype.

This paper discusses the current state of the art in WMRAs; describes the design goals and user requirements for this device; explains the component selection process; discusses details of the mechanical design, electrical system and low-level controller; covers manufacturing concerns; and describes the testing of the completed arm. Suggestions for further development are also included.