Google Cardboard™ against fear Source: TU/E
Using an affordable VR setup to tackle phobias
We can fool our brains. When looking through a device such as the Oculus
Rift we find ourselves in an alternative reality. We can experience things
which are not possible to experience in daily life: we can fly, be a Formula 1
driver, be a hero: the possibilities are endless. The entertainment business
developing VR software (and hardware) is booming! The experience of
“impossible” situations is not only entertaining. A far more interesting use of
VR is the curing of phobias.
Research supports that virtual reality (VR) can help people to overcome a
range of different fear. It is supported that spider phobia (Carlin, A.S.,
1997), acrophobia (Opdyke, D., 1995), claustrophobia (Botella, C. 1998) and
much more can successfully be reduced by simulating real-life situations.
Research in the field of treating phobias by using VR is a very hot topic.
There seems to be only one thing which limits the research in VR: the
costs. Typically VR research requires an extensive budget to cover both
hardware (e.g. Oculus Rift) and its matching software. This can be improved. A
We suggest an alternative research kit for research done in the field of
VR. We will replace the expensive hardware by the Google Cardboard. The Google
Cardboard is, as the name suggests, a piece of cardboard folded in such a way
that a smartphone can be fitted into it. Both eyes look through small lenses
and receive different images. Together with headphones a very simple research
is born. We will replace the expensive software by open source libraries.
Various gaming engines (e.g. Unity) support a quick rendering of complete
virtual worlds: all at prices not even close to existing research kits. With the Google Cardboard even students can easily partake in VR research!
We present: Google Cardboard™ against fear: using an affordable VR
setup to tackle phobias.
Carlin, A. S., Hoffman, H. G., & Weghorst, S. (1997). Virtual reality
and tactile augmentation in the treatment of spider phobia: a case report.
Behaviour research and therapy, 35(2), 153-158.
Opdyke, D., Williford, J. S., & North, M. (1995). Effectiveness of
computer-generated (virtual reality) graded exposure in the treatment of
acrophobia. Am J Psychiatry, 1(152), 626-28.
Botella, C., Baños, R. M., Perpina, C., Villa, H., Alcaniz, M. U., &
Rey, A. (1998). Virtual reality treatment of claustrophobia: a case report.
Behaviour research and therapy, 36(2), 239-246.