Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Research Open Science Open Research Award

Worklab: a wheelchair biomechanics mini-package

Rowie J.F. Janssen (Human Movement Sciences, UMCG), Jelmer Braaksma (Human movement Sciences, UMCG), Thomas Rietveld (Loughborough University), Rick de Klerk (Hanze University of Applied Sciences)

Open Research objectives/practices

Open-source software package 'Worklab: a wheelchair biomechanics mini-package' for data analyses.


Data analyses can be done in multiple ways and with our open-source software package ‘Worklab: a wheelchair biomechanics mini-package’ we aim to contribute to easier and more consistent data analyses [1]. Many researchers and practitioners use the same measurement devices, yet everyone has their personal data analyses script in for example R, Matlab or Python. Not all programs are openly available and different scripts may lead to different outcomes. This in turn increases the difficulty to communicate research results or test outcomes among different organisations. In order to enable more consistency in data analyses, we developed the open-source software package.
The software package is built in Python, a general-purpose, versatile and powerful programming language. It is open-source, concise and easy to read. The package is uploaded on Zenodo, which provides a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), making the package persistent and easy to find and cite. The code is constantly in development, and the Zenodo link is accordingly updated.


To enable more consistency in data analyses and thus better communication of research results among institutes, former PhD student at the faculty of Human Movement Sciences (UMCG), Rick de Klerk, started the Worklab package in 2019. Other students that worked with the same measurement devices, started using the Worklab package and also collaborated on further developments. Currently, new researchers are fast up and running with the Worklab package, no time is wasted on reinventing the wheel, and results are easier communicated among each other.
The current package is at this moment used at the department of Human Movement Sciences in the UMCG for research purposes. This had led to several publications, e.g., a technical note regarding a wheelchair ergometer (often used in wheelchair research) [2], an intervention study evaluating wheelchair innovations [3] and a study designing a test protocol [4].
Besides our department, the software package is currently in use by the Peter Harrison Centre for disability and Sports and at the National Training Centre in the Netherlands (NOC*NSF, Papendal) to analyse test results from elite wheelchair athletes. Not only athletes are tested and monitored, but also rehabilitation practices benefit from our consistent data analyses. Currently, we are working together with Permobil (Birsta, Sundsvall, Sweden) and Indes (Enschede, The Netherlands) to optimize daily-life wheelchairs, by the use of this software package.

Lessons learned

During the development of the open source Worklab package, there was always support from our supervisors, who encouraged us to work together in data analyses. We all followed the Big Data course in our master’s program and enhanced our knowledge on Python, and the development thereof, with several experienced python courses.
In order to reach international attention for our packages, we gave several workshops at international conferences (Dutch Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, International Society of Biomechanics in Sport, Rehabweek). Moreover, the company (Lode BV, the Netherlands) who are distributing the wheelchair ergometer, on which the open-source package is based, are referring to this package as an easy to use tool for data analyses.
One of the barriers of this project was to make the package clear in organisation and easy to use, also for users with less experience in coding. We tried to overcome this barrier by adding a proper documentation and providing examples (with accompanying data) on how to use this package.


Our developed open-source software package ‘Worklab: a wheelchair biomechanics mini-package’ has already led to consensus in data analyses among many partners, in academia and in practice. The package is maintained by PhD students at the faculty of Human Movement Sciences and is constantly evolving towards the latest updates in industry and science.

URLs, references and further information

[1] De Klerk R, Rietveld T, Janssen RJF, Braaksma J. Worklab: a wheelchair biomechanics mini-package. Published online 2023.
doi: 10.5281/zenodo.8362963
[2] de Klerk R, Vegter RJK, Veeger HEJ, van der Woude LHV. Technical note : a novel servo-driven dual-roller handrim wheelchair ergometer. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2020;28(4):1-9.
doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2020.2965281
[3] Rietveld T, Vegter RJK, van der Woude LHV, de Groot S. A newly developed hand rim for wheelchair tennis improves propulsion technique and efficiency in able-bodied novices. Appl Ergon. 2022;104(January):103830.
doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2022.103830
[4] Janssen RJF, Vegter RJK, Houdijk H, Van der Woude LHV, de Groot S. Evaluation of a standardized test protocol to measure wheelchair-specific anaerobic and aerobic exercise capacity in healthy novices on an instrumented roller ergometer. PLoS One. 2022;17(9):e0274255.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0274255

Last modified:01 November 2023 12.12 p.m.