vEngage is the a project we are running as researchers based at UCL, in collaboration with a London-based gaming company Six to Start and academic partners at Coventry University and Anglia Ruskin University. Together we are developing and testing a VR game which aims to help adolescents increase physical activity, both in virtual and in the real-world.
We hope to involve as many adolescents aged 13-15 years, their teachers and parents in helping us test and give feedback on the game and experience of playing.
The game is currently in the development stage and the first phase of testing with our users will take place in late October 2018.
We are all passionate about making this project come to fruition and be a great success among adolescents in the UK and potentially any regions across the globe that would be willing to give our game a try!
Dr Abi Fisher
I am Associate Professor in Physical Activity and Health at UCL and the Principal Investigator on the vEngage project. My main research interests are promotion of physical activity for prevention and treatment of chronic diseases and whether we can harness novel technologies to engage people in healthy behaviours. I also believe there is at least one physical activity that everyone will really enjoy – they may just not have tried it yet!
I have always enjoyed gaming and spent a large part of my PhD playing Guitar Hero. The vEngage project has allowed me to combine my interests in science and gaming in a way I never thought possible.
I fell in love with immersive virtual reality the first time I experienced it and believe it has real potential to create an experience that is far more memorable, impactful and enjoyable that reading some information, or viewing it on a screen.
I’m CEO at Six to Start, co-creators of the world’s most successful smartphone fitness game, Zombies, Run! We’ve designed and developed several other fitness games that combine storytelling, gameplay, and the real world, including The Walk (funded by the NHS and Department of Health), 7 Minute Superhero Workout, and Step Buy Step: A Pedometer Adventure.
I studied experimental psychology and neuroscience at Cambridge and Oxford, and I’m fascinated by the potential of games and VR to help people achieve their goals.
Dr Henry Potts
I am a Senior Lecturer in Health Informatics at UCL with a background in health psychology and statistics. I am one of the co-investigators on the vEngage project.
I played way too much Tetris as an undergraduate. There was then a long Heroes of Might & Magic phase. Doom dominated my year doing an MSc. Lots of GoldenEye followed. My first experience of exergaming was the PS2 EyeToy. I only broke one light bulb playing that… There’s a Wii Fit account for me on an ex’s Wii somewhere. I spent many hours playing Skyrim, but now I think the game I play most is Solitaire.
I am currently completing a Health Psychology MSc at UCL. My research project forms an important part of the vEngage intervention development. It involves conducting a qualitative study exploring what parents of teenagers think about gaming, VR, and the potential for a VR fitness game!
At school I was a self-confessed “PE-dodger” but have since embraced an active lifestyle, and love the physical and mental benefits fitness can bring.
Dr Katie Newby
I am a Senior Research Fellow within the Centre for Advances in Behavioural Science at Coventry University and is a registered psychologist (HCPC). Most of my work focusses on understanding health behaviour and how best to support people to make changes to improve their health and lifestyle.
I am particularly interested in all things digital, particularly how best to harness the potential of digital technology for health.
I am a member of a women’s cricket team and a keen (although not especially talented) tennis player!
I am a Research Assistant on the vEngage project. I love health psychology research and have worked in healthcare industry as a medical copywriter and the NHS before joining the UCL research departments. As a kid I used to play outdoors and was particularly good at “Gumi-twist” as we called it, or “Elastics” reaching highest complexity levels. (If you are interested, the game looks like this: https://todiscoverrussia.com/top-25-games-of-schoolchildren-in-the-soviet-union-18-elastics/)
I also loved Tetris (spell check wants to change this to Trieste which is essentially in my country). I also played a few single player adventure video games of which my favourite was Riven, a sequel to Myst.
Dr Lee Smith
I am a Senior Lecturer in Exercise Medicine at Anglia Ruskin University and the Director of Research and Income Generation at The Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences. I am trained in epidemiology, public health and sport science. My research focuses on many aspects of health and medicine across the lifespan. I am particularly interested in developing novel interventions to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary time.