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Perceived Exertion Study using VR

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[VR Rearch Project]

Research Assignment #1

at Goldsmiths University of London

2022 - 2023

In doing research for our topic, we noticed that there were not many studies that just study perceived physical exertion in VR. There was one study about the use of virtual reality in physical activities [7] we found that was done in the 2013 but seemed out of date due to technological advances that have been made in the last 10 years. The remainder we found (all listed under resources) were about getting youth involved in activity more by using VR or for rehabilitation of patients that were less mobile. As this area seemed to be lacking data, we decided to perform the study using a simple process of lifting empty boxes in a real-world as we could emulate this exercise in VR using the Boneworks game software. It has realistic physics and provides a similar environment to the real-world test with little break in perceived reality. We decided to use empty boxes was to make the study less likely to be harmful to participants and to emulate as close as possible what they feel in VR.

We used a pre-evaluation questionnaire to get consent and grab some basic details for users (age band and how often they use VR). We also wanted to get their baseline simulator sickness feelings at this stage using a slightly modified (re-phrasing of some questions for clarity) Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ) borrowed from X. Pan in her study for Social VR. This questionnaire should give us good information to test against for their SSQ after lifting real boxes vs. those inside the VR game.

We randomized whether users would do the physical or virtual tasks first. Users lifted boxes in both scenarios by picking up a top box, moving it to the side and placing it down. They then picked up a second box that was stacked under the first and lifted it and placed it on the first box (re-stacking the boxes). This activity is repeated in both the physical space and in VR. After each task was complete, we had the participants fill out a questionnaire that asked for their test ID and a few open questions about how they felt after the task and how hard they thought the task was asking them to explain their thoughts. We did this to use it against the data we would retrieve in the next step – as we didn’t want to lead them to specific conclusions with our data gathering questions. After they answered the basic questions, we asked them specific questions using a modified Borg scale [9][10] for perceived physical exertion (PPE). The original Borg scale was 20 points, later modified to a 10-point scale. As Microsoft forms don’t work well with a 10-point scale, we modified it to be 5 points.

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