A Control Method for Power-Assist Devices using a BLDC Motor for Manual Wheelchairs

Kim, Dong-Youn;Kim, Yong-Hyu;Kim, Kwang-Sik;Kim, Jang-Mok

  • Received : 2015.04.06
  • Accepted : 2015.10.05
  • Published : 2016.03.20


This paper proposes a new operation and control strategy for Power-Assisted Wheelchairs (PAW) using one brushless DC (BLDC) motor. The conventional electrical wheelchairs are too heavy and large for one person to move because they have two electric motor wheels. On the other hand, the proposed PAW system has a small volume and is easy to move due to the presence of a single wheel motor. Unlike the conventional electric wheelchairs, this structure for a PAW does not have a control joystick to reduce its weight and volume. To control the wheelchair without a joystick, a special control system and algorithm are needed for proper operation of the wheelchair. In the proposed PAW system uses only one sensor to detect the acceleration and direction of PAW's movement. By using this sensor, speed control can be achieved. With a speed control system, there are three kinds of operations that can be done on the speed of a PAW: the increment of PAW speed by summing external force, the decrement of PAW speed by subtracting external force, and emergency breaking by evaluating the time duration of external force. The validity of the proposed algorithm is verified through experimental results.


Assist equipment;Brushless DC motor;Power-assisted wheelchair sensor;Speed control;Wheelchair control


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