Spiders are everywhere, and lots of people have phobia about them. Whether it’s their size, eight legs, eight eyes, cobwebs everywhere or the fact they can be lightning fast, it’s safe to say they’re not the most beloved creature in the world. It’s with this in mind that developer IgnisVR has created a virtual reality (VR) app Arachnophobia to help people combat their fear.
Essentially a health and psychology application, Arachnophobia allows viewers to expose themselves to spiders in a self-controlled VR environment. Exposure therapy has long been proven to help those with certain irrational phobias, as the developers description explains: “By generating enough phobic stress while immersed in a virtual reality environment, psychological effects can be invoked that will dampen your phobia over time.”
Arachnophobia features five levels of exposure controlled completely by the user. The experience sits you at a table with several pieces of paper in front of you. By looking at the markers on the paper labelled ‘more spiders’, ‘less spiders’ you can gradually become accustomed to the arachnids present, and if it gets too mush just reduce as needed.
IgnisVR also notes: “It is advised to install yourself into a sitting position and put your arms on the table in front of you just like your virtual avatar in the scene. This way your brain will create an psychological association between the virtual arms of the avatar and your own arms in the real world ( rubber hand illusion ). This will improve the possible psychological effects by increasing immersion.”
If this sounds like fun, Arachnophobia supports the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive head-mounted displays (HMDs), downloadable via Steam for £3.99 GBP.
VRFocus will continue its SteamVR coverage, reporting back with any new additions.