The World Health Organization (WHO) defines physical activity as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure”. A moderate amount of physical activity on most days of the week has been shown to have significant health benefits. Amongst many others, it reduces the risk of obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, as well as colon cancer. Furthermore, the impact of physical activity on mental health is essential. Physical activity may relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve one’s mood. Nevertheless, physical inactivity remains a major health problem all over the world. In Germany, for instance, 39.4% of the people were inactive even before the covid-19 pandemic. Whereas the WHO recommends that adults perform at least 2.5 h / week of physical activity of at least moderate intensity.
Digital fitness content is increasingly emerging in many online gyms and fitness applications. This can be a good alternative for those who cannot go to the gym for different reasons. A wide variety of physical exercises can be called up at any time, whether on a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or TV, and can be watched in detail. Exercising at home thus promotes physical activity. However, although this digital alternative to classic gyms has clear and promising advantages, it still fails to appeal to a large number of individuals due to limitations concerning direct interaction and collaboration. Most people miss especially the feature of being present with other friends and colleagues in the same fitness room or environment. Hence, existing fitness solutions do not significantly promote physical activity.
Therefore, in this project group, we propose a novel alternative to both classic gyms and digital fitness streaming services, that is, Virtual Reality (VR). VR is a technology that aims to immerse one or more people in a virtual environment. VR allows a person to live an immersive experience and to carry out activities in an artificial world. To ensure total immersion, the user generally uses a virtual reality headset, and controllers to interact with the environment. We assess the potential of virtual reality to promote physical activity compared to conventional gyms. The main goal of the project group is to design and implement a VR environment for personalized and collaborative VR training.
- Literature research on the topics VR, Exergames, Gamification, Fitness Training, etc.
- Conceptualization and Design of a VR fitness training environment
- Prototypical Implementation of a collaborative VR fitness training environment
- Experiment-based evaluation of the implemented approach
- Sound programming skills in an object-oriented language, e.g. Java, C#
- 3D Programming, experience with Unity Engine
- Motivation to work in an agile team, self-organize yourself, and be creative!
- The project group will be conducted in English (unless all participants agree with the German language)
- Computer science (CS) and engineering (CE) students are welcome
- CS students get 20 ECTS, CE students 18 ECTS
- 26.07.2021: PG Presentation slides can be found here. Next Deadline: Please send us your motivation letter!