If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

What is the VR Institute of Health & Exercise?

The Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise was founded in early 2017 to use cutting edge laboratory equipment to better understand the calorie impact of VR experiences on the human body. Created by professionals in a wide variety of backgrounds, the organization aims to explore gaming and health from the perspective of several different health fields.  For 20 years video games have had a negative connotation in the health and fitness community. The stereotype of the unhealthy, antisocial gamer that hides in the basement and has no friends has long been untrue, but is still reinforced on the internet and remains prevalent in popular culture.

In 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention identified hours playing video games as one of the risk factors for low physical activity in the United States. However, the inherent movement in virtual reality and augmented exercise make it possible that video games may soon be a positive contributor to physical fitness, not its enemy. And the popularity of video games as one of the world’s most sustained and growing pastimes may make it a great ally for those that traditionally struggle with staying fit.

The VR Health Institute exists to help provide concrete, objective data for the discussion of video games as a source of healthy physical activity. The VR Health Institute also aims to be a hub for the VR community interested in the broader impact and the role of virtual and augmented reality in a healthy lifestyle.

April, 2016: First room-scale VR is released.

July, 2016: Dr. Kern & Aaron meet to discuss how to measure VR as a unique exercise.

Oct, 2016: Dulce Gomez begins measuring calorie burn with 40 subjects

August, 2017: VR Health Institute begins publishing VR Exercise Ratings

The Team behind the VR Health Institute

Aaron Stanton


Aaron is a mentor and investor in the VR industry, and the founder and director of the VR Health Institute. Previously, he was founder and CEO of BookLamp, a technology-based book analysis platform that was sold to Apple in 2014 (https://techcrunch.com/2014/07/25/apple-booklamp/).

In addition, Aaron is also the Chief Gatherer at VR Caretakers, Executive Producer of QuiVr (currently a top 20 multiplayer game on SteamVR), and sits on the Board of Directors for SpringboardVR, the largest distribution network of content for VR Arcades in North America.

Aaron has had the honor of speaking on technology disruption, gaming, and start-ups in places like London, New York, Hong Kong, Germany, Japan, and Denmark, as well as institutions like Stanford University. His work has been profiled by CNN, Mashable, TechCrunch, FastCompany, Popular Science, Macworld, Wired Magazine, CNET, Gigaom, ZDNET, PC World Magazine, NPR, the Huffington Post, the Seattle Times, ABC News, and others.

Job J Stauffer


Job has veteran experience in the space of interactive entertainment across two decades working on some of the world’s most iconic and award-winning video games ranging from Grand Theft Auto (Rockstar Games) to DARK SOULS and Pac-Man (Bandai Namco). In 2012, he joined the independent studio Telltale Games to help bring some of the biggest franchises in pop-entertainment to the interactive narrative space, including The Walking Dead (Skybound), Game of Thrones (HBO), BATMAN (DC/WB), FABLES: The Wolf Among Us (DC/Vertigo), Tales from the Borderlands (Gearbox/2k), Minecraft: Story Mode (Mojang) and Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel/Disney).

By 2017, he had discovered the positive physical benefits of playing active games in virtual reality, and has since lost over 80lbs by burning calories in the medium. After his stories went viral, he was then recognized by independent research firm Onalytica as one of the Top 50 Most Influential voices in the field of VR.

Partnering with its founding members, Job has now assumed the role of Publisher for the Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise, remaining a VR Fitness and Wellness Advocate, sharing his stories of success along his journey while striving for better health by way of using modern technology. He also enjoys hiking Northern California and stands proudly as an ally to pets, LGBTQ+, video games, equality, wellness, and the arts.

Jimmy Bagley, PhD

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology

Dr. Jimmy Bagley is Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, Director of the Muscle Physiology Lab, Co-Director of the Exercise Physiology Lab, and Research Director of the Strength & Conditioning Lab at San Francisco State University. Dr. Bagley teaches exercise physiology courses and his research interests include: muscle physiology, advanced cellular imaging techniques, and sport performance enhancement.

Dr. Bagley earned a PhD in Human Bioenergetics from the Human Performance Lab at Ball State University, MS in Kinesiology from Cal State University, Fullerton (CSUF), and BS in Kinesiology from Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo). Additionally, he spent one year as a Visiting Scholar in the Biochemistry & Molecular Exercise Physiology Laboratory at CSUF prior to joining the faculty at SFSU. Dr. Bagley has published over one dozen peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters and is an active member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), American Physiological Society (APS), and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

Marialice Kern, PhD, FACSM

Professor and Department Chair, Kinesiology

Professor Marialice Kern is the Chair of the Department of Kinesiology with research interests focused on the exercise effects of diabetic metabolic control, various dietary manipulations on body composition, use of various tools to accurately measure body composition, different types of measuring devices to access the metabolic costs of activity (including wearable technology and virtual reality).

Over the past 10 years, her research interests have primarily focused on assisting her graduate students to better design their Thesis projects, especially when their studies involve assessing metabolic rate and blood metabolite levels.

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