Introduction: The Segway Personal Transporter® is a self-balancing, electric-powered transportation device. While the Segway has not been marketed to individuals with mobility impairments, we wish to investigate the potential this technology offers to enhance quality of life in this population. Objectives: To determine the functional abilities that are necessary for successful use of the SegwayPT® as a personal mobility device and to asses how it compares to clients' current method of mobility. Methods: Participants (n=22) underwent three training sessions with the Segway to correlate their functional ability with their skill level on the device based on a Segway Task Assessment tool. Secondly, of the 22 subjects, 10 subjects navigated a 25m obstacle course with their current mobility devices and then the Segway. Outcome measures were the Wheelchair Outcomes Measure (WhOM) score and the difference in the time required to complete the obstacle course. Results: All participants successfully completed the Segway Task Assessment, regardless of scores on functional assessments. There was a significant increase in WhOM score between subjects' current mobility method and using the Segway for client specific goals. Interestingly, some subjects felt remarkable improvements with their spasticity after using the Segway. Conclusion: The Segway may be a useful device for a broad range of populations with functional disabilities to meet their mobility goals. We are now exploring possible therapeutic benefits of using the Segway with respect to spasticity and fatigue in SCI.
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