Wheelchair casters are a common point of failure in less-resourced environments (LRE) due to rough terrains, inclement and debris. Failures can lead to injuries of the wheelchair users, and are often difficult to repair or replace. The World Health Organization has indicated that ISO 7176 may not be sufficient to confirm the reliability of wheelchairs in less-resourced settings, and that has been echoed at consensus conferences and by a working group of wheelchair product experts. These experts have furthermore ranked caster failure as one of the most critical areas for testing and test development.
The ISWP Caster Test, also called as the “Chakra”, has been developed to address the testing requirements for casters used in less-resourced settings. The Chakra is able to test casters against straight and angular impacts as seen in the field. It has the capability to test casters on simulated surfaces that correspond to surfaces evident in less-resourced setting like gravel, mud, sand, etc. Corrosion caused by humidity is another test factor that has been integrated into the caster testing protocol. Accelerated testing due to heat and UV will be integrated in the testing protocol soon.