A Penryn-based virtual reality (VR) entrepreneur is looking for volunteers to help research health benefits of the technology.

Katie Hoolahan founded Virtually Healthy last year with the aim of using VR games to motivate people to exercise.

She is looking for volunteers to don 3d-tracking suits and heartrate monitors while playing so she can analyse what effect they have on joints and overall health.

Katie studied sport and exercise science at university before applying for a master's in biomedical engineering.

Before she started the MSc in Sussex, a friend bought an HTC Vive VR headset.

Katie said: "I wasn't expecting much, I thought 'this is going to be a little bit better than the [Nintendo] Wii, but I was blown away by how far VR had come.

"It made me think about how it could motivate people to exercise.

"People are given a wide variety of exercise programs, but none of them are adhered to very well. It got me thinking about using VR for exercise and getting people moving."

She moved to Penryn with her boyfriend last year and set up Virtually Healthy.

The company is carrying out initial research in order to attract investors with the ultimate aim of creating an accreditation system for existing games that tells people how beneficial they are for different ailments from joint pain to mental health issues.

She said: "We are talking to VR games that are already out there that people are using for fitness - but there's no research behind it.

"We want to take all those games and see what health benefits they have."

So far, game companies have been overwhelmingly supportive. Katie has been sent 41 different games by developers to test out with the help of 20 local volunteers.

They will have to dedicate one hour a week for 20 weeks where they will play games while hooked up to the heartrate monitors and 3d tracking suit, and afterwards they will have to fill in questionnaires to give Vitually Healthy an idea of how much they enjoyed the game, how much they exerted themselves and how much it motivated them to exercise.

The research will be carried out at BeKarma studio in Longdowns.

Anyone interested in taking part can contact Katie via email: admin@virtuallyhealthy.co.uk.