Individuals using wheelchairs tend to live a more sedentary lifestyle than the average population, leading to a higher susceptibility of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. To address this, this thesis explores the design and evaluation of an engaging and accessible virtual reality (VR) exercise game platform for wheelchair users. The device underwent three iterations, which were tested by able-bodied participants in different cohorts of 6, 5, and 26 participants. Performance metrics such as average in-game movement speed, and heart rate were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the device. Participants’ cybersickness levels was evaluated by users answering the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ) and levels of enjoyment was evaluated by answering the Short Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES-S).
The analysis results indicate that the cybersickness experienced by users did not significantly change with the different device iterations, as evidenced by the similar SSQ scores. A strong inverse relationship between SSQ and PACES-S scores was found, which indicates that participants who experienced less cybersickness also enjoyed the experience more. Heart rate was found to positively correlate with PACES-S scores and negatively correlated with SSQ scores, which suggests that minimizing cybersickness is crucial to enable users to exercise at moderate to high intensity levels. Finally, users’ self-reported susceptibility to motion sickness as well as gender was found to be major predictors of cybersickness.