Using physical and virtual robots to increase the effectiveness of health games to encourage physical activity

Taking a novel approach to advance the field of digital games, a team from the University of California's Viterbi School of Engineering is studying how people interact with computers and robots during game-based physical activity therapies. In their study, participants ages 60 and older are randomly assigned to exercise by following the lead of either (1) a human-looking robot that demonstrates the exercises in the same room, or (2) an animated presentation of the same robot on a television screen. The results will document the relative effectiveness of computer-based and robotic interfaces, addressing the poorly understood role of how physical embodiment can impact physical exercise.

This project was funded as part of Health Games Research, a national program of the Pioneer Portfolio dedicated to funding and supporting research to advance the effectiveness of interactive games for health.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $150,000.00

Awarded on: 8/18/2009

Time frame: 9/1/2009 - 8/31/2011

Grant Number: 66719


University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering

3650 McClintock Avenue
Los Angeles, 90084-0001


Maja Mataric
Project Director