Virtual Gym
is a platform for serious exergames
in Virtual Reality.

Its purpose is to provide older adults with a fun experience, while, at the same time, encouraging them to improve their strength, flexibility, and balance, in the safety and convenience of their home.

The platform was created by University of Alberta researchers, in collaboration with many seniors who have guided its design and development.


This game requires the player to use both hands to reach pairs of bubbles in a series of stretches. To reach the bubbles, the player must stretch up, down, and to the side. This game assists the user to assume the correct posture as they play, encouraging them to exercise. This is the simplest game because the player doesn’t need to learn complex interactions.


This game introduces a different interaction for the left and right hands. The player can use their left hand to pop balloons and their right hand to push balloons around. Unlike in the bubble game, the player has to touch the balloons with both hands at the same time.


In this game, the user reaches and stretches in a step climbing environment. Participants attempt to climb a mountain using the controllers to reach climbing rocks and advance at a proper rhythm to grasp the next climbing rock with coordinated hands to reach the top. The placement of the rocks and the climbing speed are calculated based on the exercise description.

Flying Rings

This is an exercise for extension using the upper limbs. Following the rings and flying around the environment encouraging users to move and hold the arms in the air.


This game requires the player to make a sequence of coordinated movements to hold the bow and arrow. The movements in this game coordinate the hands together to grab the bow and arrow, then extend one hand to point the target. The target appears in front of the player and gradually moves up and further away from them. The Archery game places the targets at the proper length and elevation based on the posture information.

Slice Saber

In this game, the users grab two distinctly coloured lightsabers, one in each hand, while coloured blocks appear on the horizon. The players must cut the blocks in half, following the direction indicated on the block. Several two-colour blocks are placed in front of the users with a sufficient distance to coordinate their movements. The position of the targets stimulates the users to adopt the postures when they slice the cubes with the correct direction and hand. This game supports an additional cognitive challenge when the lightsaber switches colours. The personal configuration of the gameplay sets the position, orientation, texture, and speed of the cubes. Each exercise session has an individual setting to promote physical and cognitive activation with rhythm and coordination.

Our Team

Eleni Stroulia

Google Scholar
Scopus Page
Web of Science Page

Dr. Eleni Stroulia, is a Full Professor at the Computing Science Department, of the University of Alberta. Her research addresses real-world problems with digital technologies, relying on artificial intelligence and machine-learning methods.

Victor Fernandez

Google Scholar

Victor is the Founder of Virtual Gym, and is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Computing Science Department, of the University of Alberta.

Our Publications

Cervantes, Victor Fernandez; Stroulia, Eleni; Thawonmas, Ruck; Xiao, You; Abdullah, Febri (2023 Aug).
Virtual Gym with Juicy Effects: A Study in Engaging Serious Silver Games. Replaying Japan, 2023:4.
Workshop Paper 2023-08-19

Baldassarre, Maria Teresa; Calvano, Danilo; Romano, Simone; Cagnetta, Francesco; Cervantes, Victor Fernandez; Stroulia, Eleni (2021 May).
PhyDSLK: a Model-Driven Framework for Generating Exergames. MULTIMEDIA TOOLS AND APPLICATIONS, 80:27947-27971. Springer Link
IF: 2.31300; Ranking: 34/105 = 32.38% (COMPUTER SCIENCE, SOFTWARE ENGINEERING)
Journal Paper 2021-05-27

Cervantes, Victor Fernandez; Stroulia, Eleni (2019 Mar).
Virtual-GymVR: A Virtual Reality Platform for Personalized Exergames. 26th IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces
Poster 2019-03-23

Cervantes, Victor Fernandez; Neubauer, Noelannah; Hunter, Benjamin; Stroulia, Eleni; Liu, Lili (2018 Apr).
VirtualGym : A Kinect-based system for seniors exercising at home. Entertainment Computing, 27(August 2018):60-72. Elsevier BV
Journal Paper 2018-04-01

Neubauer, N.; Cervantes, Victor Fernandez; Liu, Lili; Stroulia, Eleni (2017 Jul).
Effect of Kinect TAI CHI on Overall Health of Dementia Clients: A Feasibility and Usability Study. Innovation in Aging, 1(suppl_1):661-662. Oxford University Press (OUP)
Journal Paper 2017-07-01

Fernandez-Cervantes, Victor; Stroulia, Eleni; Hunter, Benjamin (2016 Jan).
A Grammar-Based Framework for Rehabilitation Exergames. International Conference on Entertainment Computing:38–50.
Proceedings Paper 2016-01-01

Cervantes, Victor Fernandez; Stroulia, Eleni; Oliva, L; Gonzalez, F; Castillo, C (2015 Oct).
Serious games: Rehabilitation fuzzy grammar for exercise and therapy compliance. Games Entertainment Media Conference (GEM), 2015 IEEE:1-8. IEEE Conference Paper 2015-10-14