D3.1 Steady Wheels

Principal Investigator

Jacob Sosnoff, Ph.D. 


Laura Rice, Ph.D. & Jason Fanning, Ph.D.


Makenna Snyder, MSOT, OTR/L


National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Post-Polio Health International, Illinois Community Health and Aging Collaborative



Although individuals with long-term mobility disabilities are at increased risk of falls (Matsuda, Verrall, Finlayson, Molton, & Jensen, 2015), recommended fall risk screening tools are typically designed for individuals experiencing normative aging (Ambrose, Cruz, & Paul, 2015). Consequently, most adults with mobility disabilities who use wheelchairs do not undergo comprehensive falls risk screening or receive targeted prevention strategies and remain at high risk of falls and loss of independence (Rice, Ousley, & Sosnoff, 2015). In response to the need for valid comprehensive measures of fall risk among this population, this project will examine the validity of smart-phone based postural control assessments in adults with mobility disabilities who use wheelchairs.

feet resting on wheelchair leg supportsteady wheels logoman sitting on wheelchair using smart phone

Project Status

Our team now has a working prototype of the app suitable for non-ambulatory individuals. We are preparing to begin user testing of the app.

The poster below highlights findings from usability testing of the Steady-Wheels™ app, a custom-designed falls risk application for wheeled device users. Presented at the 2022 TechSAge State of the Science and the 2021 International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care.

Screenshot of poster " The Usability of a Smartphone-Based Fall Risk Health Application for Adult Wheelchair Users"



Hsieh, K.L., Chen, L., & Sosnoff, J. J. (2022). Mobile Technology for Falls Prevention in Older Adults. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, glac116, https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glac116

Frechette M.L., Abou, L., Rice, L.A., Sosnoff, J.J. (2022). The relationship between lower limb function and fall prevalence in ambulatory individuals with spinal cord injury: a systematic review. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, 28(2), 153-175. https://doi.org/10.46292/sci21-00026

Hsieh, K.L., Frechette, M.L., Fanning, J., Chen, L., Griffin, A., Sosnoff J.J. (2022). The Developments and Iterations of a Mobile Technology-Based Fall Risk Health Application.  Frontiers in Digital Health, 4https://doi.org/10.3389/fdgth.2022.828686 

Abou L., Rice L.A., Frechette, M.L. & Sosnoff J.J. (2021). Feasibility and preliminary reliability and validity of remote sitting balance assessments among wheelchair users. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research.

Rice, LA., Yarnot, R., Mills, S., Sonsoff, JJ. (In Press) A Pilot Investigation of Anterior Tilt Use Among Power Wheelchair Users. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology.

Tablerion JM, Wood TA, Hsieh KL, Bishnoi A, Sun R, Hernandez M, An R, Sosnoff JJ. (in press). Motor Learning in People with Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Frechette M. L., Abou L., Rice, L.A., Sosnoff, J.J. (2020). The Validity, Reliability, and Sensitivity of a Smartphone-based Seated Postural Control Assessment in Wheelchair Users. Frontiers in Sport Active Living. Sports Science, Technology and Engineering. https://doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2020.540930

Project Alumni

Libak Abou, Ph.D. & Mikaela L. Frechette, Ph.D.

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