Novel Virtual Exercise Partner for Enhancing Aerobic Exercise


Executive Summary


Maintaining motivation during exercise has been a long standing challenge for those pursuing a fitness routine whether an individual is just starting out or they are a seasoned in exercise enthusiast.  Exercise video games (or exergames) are designed to push the user to perform their best which is necessary for the success of the individual pursuing a fitness goal. Studies have suggested that individuals work harder when in a group setting to avoid being the ‘weak link’.  MSU researchers have developed a strategy to use this group dynamic in exergaming in order to gain the best performance results from the user.


Description of Technology


MSU researchers have introduced a novel virtual exercise partner that enhances the motivation of the user to continue their exercise in order to reach their fitness goal. In combination with many common exergaming activities, the virtual partner can motivate the user to exercise harder in order to support their partner or team. This technology harnesses the social psychological mechanisms discovered in group dynamic research in order to improve the user’s performance. Additionally, the use of a virtual partner removes the social anxiety a user may have of exercising with a human partner.


Key Benefits

  • Exercise motivation: Uses interpersonal and social cues to motivate the user
  • Virtual partner matching for promoting best performance results from the user
  • Reduced social anxiety of players with social physique anxiety



  • Exergames
  • Rehabilitation/Physical therapy
  • Exercise/Gym equipment


Licensing Rights Available


Exclusive and Non-Exclusive


Inventors: Dr. Deborah Feltz, Brian Winn, Dr. Norbert Kerr, William Jeffery, Greg Kozma, Brandon Irwin


Tech ID: TEC2011-0097


Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Brian Copple
Technology Manager
Michigan State University