The effect of Virtual Reality on the physical exercises’ physiological and perceptual performances (UPDATED)

Speaker: Dr Serban Pop, Senior Lecturer, Computer Science, University of Chester
Venue: University of Chester, Thornton Science Park, Room TSU106
Date: 22/11/2017 10:00 - 11:00


This is an updated presentation, with new results, of research which was first presented on 23/11/2016.

The aim of this study, an on-going collaboration between Sport and Computer Science departments, was to examine the effects of immersive virtual reality, with and without a cognitive task to perform, on physiological, perceptual and performance responses to steady state exercise. In a repeated measures, randomised, cross-over design, 15 participants (age 25 ± 4, stature 176.7 ± 3.4, body mass 77.7 ± 6.1) visited the laboratory on four separate occasions.  For the first visit, participants completed a preliminary ramp test to exhaustion and familiarisation with the VR headset (Oculus DK2). For the following three visits, participants completed a time to exhaustion test (TTE) in which they were required to cycle to exhaustion at a steady workload corresponding to 80% of the power output achieved at VO2max.  For one of the TTE tests participants completed the exercise protocol under normal laboratory conditions (CON). In the other trials participants completed the same protocol but whilst wearing a VR headset with and without completing a counting task. In one of the VR trials, participants were also required to complete simple cognitive tasks embedded within the VR environment. The order of trials was randomly allocated according to balanced permutations generated by a web-based computer program (Research Randomizer, Version 4.0).

In this paper, a detailed analysis is presented over the effects of VR over the participants’ time to exhaustion and their physiological and performance reaction to the perception and immersion associated with the given VR environment.

Speaker's Bio

Dr Serban Pop is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science since July 2015. He was formerly a Lecturer in Oxford Brookes University, a Research Officer in the Advanced Medical Imaging and Visualization Unit of the School of Computer Science, Bangor University and a Research Fellow at the School of Mathematical Sciences, Centre for Mathematical Medicine, University of Nottingham. He is part of the Digital HumanitiesMedical Graphicsand Visualization, Interaction & Graphics research groups.

Serban’s research work has been strongly identified as having two equally important, complementary elements, namely mathematical modelling and computer simulations, both in strong connection with real-life/industrial applications. The majority of his post-doctoral research has been developing mathematical models of relevant biological phenomena with application in medicine, and with the aim of better understanding their condition and predicting factors of their future evolution. One of his interests is modelling realistically, accurately and in real-time the blood flow through complex networks such as coronary collateralization during acute cardiac events. Developing robust flow models that can be subsequently incorporated into decision/planning virtual reality medical tools, is Serban’s main research topic.

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