We wanted to play a part in reducing phobia-induced anxiety, which is crippling for many people. Exposure Therapy has been proven to effectively desensitize those with phobias by exposing them to what they fear in a comfortable setting. As a form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, it can be used to associate fears with a more positive experience until one has overcome them. However, it may be challenging to find exposure to certain fears without a simulation.
How it works
One of the most common fears is the fear of Thunder and Lightning and, without the ability to control Mother Nature, it must be simulated. We used an Oculus Rift, Leap Motion, and the Unity Game Engine to bring to life the scenario of one walking outdoors in a rain storm.
The user must walk toward the wooden post in the center of the field and swipe their hand to complete the task. They are then asked to rate their anxiety level during the task, which can be used to customize their therapy.
Challenges I ran into
It was difficult to calibrate the Leap Motion sensor and integrate the various types of movement between the hardware platforms. Implementing the most effective design for a therapeutic purpose was complex and required some additional thought and research.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We were able to make a multi-level progression for one of the key phobias. It was very rewarding seeing our work come to life in an immersive setting.
What I learned
None of our team members had any prior experience with Oculus Rift or Leap Motion, and we only had limited experience with Unity. These technologies were very interesting and eye-opening, which will lead us to further continue our development experience.
What's next for Dauntless
We would like for these simulations to extend into the therapeutic practice and cover a wider range of fears and phobias. In addition to the existing components, we would like to include a heart rate monitor to enhance the precision of our results.