Exertion-Aware Path Generation

1 George Mason University           2 University of Massachusetts Boston
* Equal Contributors
Virtual Wheelchair Training Teaser

Given (a) a terrain as input, our approach automatically generates (b) an exertion-aware path that satisfies the user-specified exertion goals such as the the total work and perceived level of path difficulty. (c) Forces that a user experiences along the path. (d) The user bikes along the generated path in virtual reality via a VR headset and our custom-built exercise bike whose feedback force changes with the generated path, giving a highly immersive experience.


We propose a novel approach for generating paths with desired exertion properties, which can be used for delivering highly realistic and immersive virtual reality applications that help users achieve exertion goals. Given a terrain as input, our optimization-based approach automatically generates feasible paths on the terrain which users can bike to perform body training in virtual reality. The approach considers exertion properties such as the total work and the perceived level of path difficulty in generating the paths.

To verify our approach, we applied it to generate paths on a variety of terrains with different exertion targets and constraints. To conduct our user studies, we built an exercise bike whose force feedback was controlled by the elevation angle of the generated path over the terrain. Our user study results showed that users found exercising with our generated paths in virtual reality more enjoyable compared to traditional exercising approaches. Their energy expenditure in biking the generated paths also matched with the specified targets, validating the efficacy of our approach for generating exertion-aware paths.

Index Terms

Procedural Modeling, Level Design, Path Generation, Haptics


Exertion-Aware Path Generation
Wanwan Li, Biao Xie, Yongqi Zhang, Walter Meiss, Haikun Huang, Lap-Fai Yu
ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceeding of SIGGRAPH 2020)
Wanwan Li, Biao Xie, Yongqi Zhang, Walter Meiss, Haikun Huang, Lap-Fai Yu
Exertion-Aware Path Generation


author={Wanwan Li, Biao Xie, Yongqi Zhang, Walter Meiss, Haikun Huang, Lap-Fai Yu},
title={Exertion-Aware Path Generation},
booktitle={ACM Transactions on Graphics},
volume = {39},
number = {4},


We are grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. We especially thank Daniel Lynch for his help in assembling the VR gym bike. We also thank Tongjian You and Elisa Ogawa for their advice and discussion on exergame design.