Vicair wheelchair cushion

ISO 16840 Testing of wheelchair cushions performance

tests done by Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centre (RERC) of the University of Pittsburgh conducted independent research and tested 50 different wheelchair cushions according to the ISO standard 16840 (pre-clinical) and generated independently cushion performance data.

The ‘Wheelchair & Cushion Standards Group’ at RERC who seeks to actively translate national and international performance standards in a way that is understandable and effective for healthcare professionals, manufacturers, wheelchair users, researchers and policy makers to implement and call upon in daily practice.

Logo University of Pittsburgh

The cushions were tested for the following: immersion, impact damping, hysteresis, horizontal stiffness, stability, pressure mapping, 10% force deflection, envelopment of pressure distribution and envelopment of immersion.

The results of the tested 50 wheelchair cushions have been published in an interactive web-based tool to allow everyone to explore the independently generated cushion performance data.

Click here to see all the RERC data.

What is ISO?

ISO is the International Organisation for Standardisation and brings global experts together to agree on the best way of doing things – from making a product, managing a process to creating test methods.

The International Standards published by ISO serve to make lives easier, safer and better.

Vicair wheelchair cushions are ISO tested. These tests were performed partly in Pittsburgh and partly in-house.

Vicair cushion performance results

Two Vicair wheelchair cushions were included in the research conducted by the RERC, the Vicair Adjuster O2 and the Vicair Vector O2 wheelchair cushions.

To make it easier to compare different wheelchair cushion categories, we have created a graphic illustration showing the differences between different wheelchair cushions.

The information from the comparison is based on results from ISO tests, research conducted both internally and externally, questionnaires and focus groups done among wheelchair users worldwide and user stories from both therapists and wheelchair users.

How to read the cushion comparison illustration?

Skin protection: based on the RERC / ISO test data and internally conducted laboratory testing.

Stability & Balance: based on the RERC / ISO test data and internally conducted laboratory testing.

Washability: based on internally and externally conducted laboratory testing (including externally conducted independent disinfection study).

Bottoming out risk: based on internally conducted laboratory testing.

Comparison Vicair Adjuster O2 wheelchair cushion:

Score Vicair Adjuster O2 cushion ISO

Comparison Vicair Vector O2 wheelchair cushion:

Score Vicair Vector O2 cushion ISO


Comparison Interconnected air cell wheelchair cushion:

Score Interconnected Air Cell cushion ISO


* Explanation bottoming out risk score: In case an interconnected air cell cushion has a leak, the cushion is immediately flat. Bottoming out then occurs immediately. Besides this, lack of maintenance is also a major risk with these wheelchair cushions. If, for example, the cushion is set too low, there may be a lot of immersion but the risk of bottoming out is also a lot higher.

Comparison foam wheelchair cushion:


Score foam cushion ISO

The two Vicair cushions included in the RERC dataset for the repeated ISO tests Skin Protection, Stability & Balance and secondary performance metrics are listed below:

Skin protection primary performance metrics categorizing cushions:

Skin protection primary performance metrics

Stability & balance primary performance metrics categorizing cushions:

Stability & balance primary performance metrics

Secondary performance metrics categorizing cushions:

Secondary performance metrics categorizing

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man sitting on the ground with Vicair AllRounder O2 cushion

Activity cushion Vicair AllRounder O2

Feel protected and secure during activities outside of your wheelchair!