Félix Chénier PhD


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My research interests

Current projects

Biomechanical constraints of wheelchair basketball

Wheelchair basketball is currently the most popular wheelchair sport. Playing this sport contributes to a better physical and psychological health and is therefore a very positive activity. However, while manual wheelchair users are at high risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders at the shoulder, this risk doubles for wheelchair basketball athletes.

This project, funded by the inter-sectorial initiative Société Inclusive and realized in partnership with the research centre INÉDI and the Centre d'intégration à la vie active (CIVA), aims to evaluate the shoulder risks associated with many movement performed in this sport. This will help trainers to create better trainings, both in gym and at home, to reduce the risk of shoulder disorder.

Biomechanical study of racing wheelchair propulsion

From a biomechanical point of view, the propulsion of a racing wheelchair is fundamentally different to the propulsion of a standard wheelchair: the positionning of the athlete, the shape of the wheelchair and wheels, the grip between the hand and the handrim, all differ significantly. Therefore, biomechanical studies of standard wheelchair propulsion are hardly transferable to racing wheelchair. This project aims to:

  1. Create the required instrumentation to collect racing biomechanical data;
  2. Analyze the propulsion of a racing wheelchair and simulate the effect of altering the positionning and propulsion technique of the athlete;
  3. Train the athlete following the simulation results.

Optimizing an insole for figure skating and hockey

This collaborative project between La maison du patin, the Institut national du sport du Québec, the research centre INÉDI and UQAM aims to evaluate the biomechanical impact of an orthopaedic insole dedicated to figure skating and hockey. This project aims to measure the ankle stability with and without the insole, which will guide the design of the next insole iterations.

Measuring 3D kinematics with a Fish-eye camera

When performing a biomechanical analysis of a sport, kinematics (i.e. body movement) may be difficult to measure, for example when acquisitions are made on long distances. This is the case with bicycle or wheelchair racing. This project aims to develop a method to measure full 3D kinematics with a GoPro camera, during the entire length of the activity.

Ecological validity study of manual wheelchair propulsion on a simulator or on a motorized treadmill

Propelling a manual wheelchair on a simulator or on a motorized treadmill is one interesting approach to study manual wheelchair propulsion biomechanics. However, there are differences of realism between overground and simulator or treadmill propulsion. This research aims to document and reduce these differences.

Biomechanical analysis of manual wheelchair propulsion on a side incline

Propelling a manual wheelchair on a side incline, for example on a sidewalk slope, is related to an asymmetrical propulsion technique that is less energy-efficient and that requires additional active core stabilization. This project aims to quantify the impact of the side incline angle on wheelchair propulsion biomechanics.

Wheelchair propulsion simulator with haptic biofeedback

About one manual wheelchair user out of two is at risk of developing shoulder pain during his life. However, we believe that an improvement in their propulsion technique could reduce the shoulder load and then reduce the risk of developing long term shoulder disorders.

This project is a research and training device which allows wheelchair users to modify their propulsion technique through the use of haptic biofeedback, to reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. The realization of this device was the subject of my PhD thesis at the Imaging and Orthopaedics Research Lab (Laboratoire de recherche en Imagerie et Orthopédie - LIO), at the École de technologie supérieure. A new prototype is now in development at the Institut universitaire sur la réadaptation en déficience physique de Montréal.

Completed projects

Vibration study for wheelchair propulsion

This project aimed to compare the vibration transmission and required effort to propel different folding manual wheelchairs. The transmitted vibration from the seat to the user exceeds the recommendations from the ISO 2631-1 norm. However, we did not know if an improvement in vibration absorption is or is not correlated to the required energy to propulsion effort.

This project in partnership with Motion Composites aimed to improve the knowledge on these aspects of wheelchair propulsion. Our results suggest that a wheelchair frame made of carbon transmits less vibration to the body than an aluminum wheelchair, and that this better absorption does not lead to a higher propulsion effort.