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Samsung Tries to Cure Arachnophobia with Face Your Fear VR Experiment

Samsung trials a spider therapy app on three volunteers.

Back in March 2016 VRFocus reported on a new app for the Samsung Gear VR called Itsy. An exposure therapy project for people that suffer from arachnophobia (fear of spiders), Itsy involves users having to complete tasks that bring them into contact with arachnids. Samsung Nordic decided to put this therapy to the test with an experiment called ‘Face Your Fear’.

To begin with Samsung Nordic conducted a study which found that around 25 percent of Nordics have a fear of spiders. So the company decided to see if it was possible to cure people suffering from arachnophobia in three hours.

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Enlisting the help of one person from Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden, they each played Itsy for three hours to see how well they would progress with conquering their fear.

Each of the volunteers would try to walk up to a tarantula and see how far they could get. Then they would play Itsy and afterwards try that same walk again. All of them managed to walk right up to the spider on the second attempt, with a couple even putting their hand inside the spiders enclosure.

Each countries video is split over three episodes with a trailer for the whole experience shown below.

Created in collaboration with world leading researchers at Stockholm University, Itsy starts out easy going with cartoon spider designs, but as the videogame progresses the intensity of the levels increases and the spiders design becomes more realistic.

Itsy isn’t the only therapy app to help those with a fear of spiders. Last month IgnisVR launched its own app for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive head-mounted displays (HMDs) called Arachnophobia. Again going on the theme of exposure therapy Arachnophobia takes a different tact by confining players to a room where they can control the amount of spiders present.

Apps like Itsy and Arachnophobia are just the start for what VR could achieve in the long run, and VRFocus will keep you up to date on the latest developments.

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