SF State conducts groundbreaking study on virtual reality, fitness


The Kinesiology Department here at San
Francisco State is very well known for a number of areas in research. It’s a very
broad field; it’s a very eclectic field. When my professor told me that there was
an opportunity to do something with virtual reality, I was like, “Okay, let’s kind of
try it and figure it out.” Media and this gaming industry is constantly evolving. It’s
constantly trying to make it more accessible for the general public to be
able to play it and use it. So, I went in, saw how this gaming system was working
and I thought this was a great opportunity to use this as my thesis and a template
to kind of continue going on and using this for other people. Whenever you’re starting a project where nobody’s really done it before, you want
people who are smart and know their field, but you also want people who are creative
thinkers and can see the world that isn’t quite there yet and so Dr.
Kern and the department here was recommended and so that’s why I
reached out and the response is positive and so that’s how it started. So, it highlights the University and its involvement in the community as well as
in the private sector and I think really showcases the fact that we are in an
urban environment. When I bought my first VR system I realized that I had played
over 120 hours on this one particular game which forces you to jump back and forth
and do a whole lot of aerobic exercise and so like this is actual exercise it
is by far the best exercise equipment of I’ve ever owned. Watching people use the
equipment that we have in the lab now and collecting actual hard data on how
much actual oxygen consumption they have which is how we use to measure what your
metabolic rate is while you’re exercising and we did that while individuals were
playing games. We found the games, depending upon which
game it was you were actually looking at, to be anywhere from mild
exercise to strenuous exercise. One of the issues that video games as a form of
exercise and virtual reality is facing is that for years we’ve thought
of gaming as kind of the opposite of being healthy. It’s one of the things you
do if you want to sit on the couch and kind of not be out and be
physical, and so we have to educate gamers that there is actually this form
of gaming that really and truly is actual exercise. We have established the
virtual reality health and wellness Institute. It will have rankings of all
the games and it will have ideas of how much exercise you can get from playing
this game available for parents to see for gamers to see and say, “Okay, well that
that looks cool. I kind of like that idea. I’ll give it a try.” This could be the
beginning point for individuals to kind of start referencing and using this, so
the next step is hopefully within the next month to kind of send in the
manuscript and get this published soon.

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