Abstract

This work introduces a Virtual Reality (VR) Exergame application to prevent Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs). WMSDs are an important issue that can have a direct economic impact since they can injure workers, who are then forced to take time off. Exercise and stretching is one method that can benefit workers’ muscles and help prevent WMSDs. While several applications have been developed to prevent WMSDs, most of the existing applications suffer from a lack of immersivity or just focus on education and not necessarily helping workers warm-up or stretch. Hence, this work presents an Exergame application that leverages VR and Depth-sensor technology to help provide users with an immersive first-person experience. The objective of the VR Exergame is to encourage and motivate users to perform full-body movements in order to pass through a series of obstacles. The application implements a variety of game elements to help motivate users to play the game and stretch. While in the game, users can visualize their motions by controlling the virtual avatar with their body movements. It is expected that this immersivity will motivate and encourage the users. Initial findings show the positive effects that the base exergame has on individuals’ motivation and physical activity level. The results indicate that the application was able to engage individuals in low-intensity exercises that produced significant and consistent increases in their heart rate. Lastly, this work explores the development and benefits that this VR Exergame could bring by motivating workers and preventing WMSDs.

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