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Real phobias in a virtual space

05 May 2010
Virtual spider on a table
Virtual spider on a table
About four times a year Sam van der Vlier accompanies twenty-odd students on a visit to our CAVE to show them how of Virtual Reality therapy works. Those who want to can try it out themselves. These ‘guinea pigs’ are given 3D glasses and then enter the Reality Cube, where they are confronted with things that they are afraid of.
Sam with a 'guinea pig'
Sam with a 'guinea pig'

There’s always someone who’s afraid of spiders. To demonstrate how treatment works, Gerwin Kramer, developed different virtual spiders, which – as in real life – can walk about or drop down from above. By having people remain in the space until their fear reaches a peak, you can show them that their anxiety will gradually diminish.

The real thing
The real thing

The great advantage of this kind of therapy is the amount of manipulation you can do. What’s more, in real life you can’t predict how a spider will behave but you can manipulate the movements of a virtual spider. You can make things a little more predictable, which makes therapy easier.

Skeleton of virtual spider
Skeleton of virtual spider
Last modified:02 October 2015 10.24 p.m.
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