Buddy Biking: a user study on social collaboration in a virtual reality exergame for rehabilitation

Emil Rosenlund Høeg, Jon Ram Bruun-Pedersen, Shannon Cheary, Lars Koreska Andersen, Razvan Paisa, Stefania Serafin, Belinda Lange

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
87 Downloads (Pure)


Virtual reality (VR)-based rehabilitation is a growing technological field, which gradually becomes integrated into existing programs. However, technology has to support human behavior and -needs, including social relatedness, to achieve health-related outcomes. Elderly people have high risk of loneliness, and VR has technological affinity for natural social interaction. Previous studies have relied on competitiveness rather than collaborative elements, but research shows that competitiveness can lead to (feelings of) stress and aggressive behavior in some individuals. This article presents a mixed methods study to gather end-user feedback on a social VR scenario that encourages inter-player collaboration on a virtual tandem bike. Outpatients (n=11, 64% males, 60±11 years) were invited to participate with a co-player (friend or family). Participants biked on average 10.7 (± 3) minutes with a mean speed of 14.8 kmph (± 5.8). The results indicate potential and feasibility for the collaborative social biking application. Participants reported excellent usability-scores (85 ± 5), high intrinsic motivation in all categories: enjoyment (6.5 ± 0.5), effort/importance (6.4 ± 0.3), relatedness (6.3 ± 0.7) and minimal increase in symptoms of nausea, oculomotor and disorientation. Furthermore, participants found the social aspect enjoyable, agreed that collaboration eased tasks and that they lost track of exercise duration. Interpersonal interaction between participants varied, but was mostly positively rated valence, even if the sense of copresence was limited by physical constraints and avatar representation. Most participants expressed that they would use the program again, but future studies should explore how to improve location and appearance of the virtual coactor, as well as implement additional tasks.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVirtual Reality
VolumeS.I. : Virtual Reality for Therapy, Psychological Interventions, and Physical and Cognitive Rehabilitation
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

The article "Buddy biking: a user study on social collaboration in a virtual reality exergame for rehabilitation", written by Emil Rosenlund Høeg et al., was originally published online on 27th, July 2021, without Open Access.

After publication, the author decided to opt for Open Choice and to make the article an Open Access publication. Therefore, the copyright of the article has been changed to © The Author(s) 2021, and the article is forthwith distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third-party material in this article is included in the article's creative commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's creative commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license


  • Virtual Reality
  • Social Interaction
  • Physical therapy
  • Exergaming
  • Motivation
  • User-Centered Design
  • Older Adults


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