Promoting Physical Exercise Through Embodied Trainers: A Systematic Literature Review

  • Sergio Gago-Masague
  • Thomas M. Chen
  • Guann-Pyng Li


Guided physical training at home brings benefits to people aiming to improve their health. Survivors from a stroke or spinal cord injury may present specific needs and decreased motivation for rehabilitation. The quality and effectiveness of the physical training for rehabilitation have a direct impact on the probability of success in recovering motor skills. The present chapter reviews preceding research on embodied virtual agents designed to support individuals who need guidance and encouragement to conduct physical training. Embodied trainers’ capabilities for this goal have been demonstrated in several training activities collected in the present review, such as cycling, running, and walking. This review also recognizes specific strategies with positive effects on trainees’ guidance and motivation. Moreover, technical limitations and future opportunities are presented for discussion.



This work was sponsored by the Balsells Engineering Program and the Biorobotics Lab at the University of California at Irvine. The authors would like to thank the researchers of the projects selected in the present review for their help providing additional materials to complete and improve the present work. Special thanks to the Relational Agents Group at The Northeastern University, The Human-Technology Interaction Group at the Eindhoven University of Technology, and The Human Media Interaction Lab at the University of Twente.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergio Gago-Masague
    • 1
  • Thomas M. Chen
    • 2
  • Guann-Pyng Li
    • 1
  1. 1.California Institute for Telecommunications and Information TechnologyUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  2. 2.Computer EngineeringPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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