VR takes you to the top of a skyscraper to help you face your fear of heights

vr skyscraper face fear of heights newyorkfromabove

Are you scared of heights? How do you feel about trying to cure those fears by taking a trip to the top of New York’s One World Trade Center, the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere? Perhaps counterintuitively, such a terrifying scenario may actually be one of the best ways to overcome acrophobia, according to a treatment known as exposure therapy.

This therapy is something that Lithuanian software development company TeleSoftas wants to help with, courtesy of its “VR Inner Child” software, an immersive virtual reality tool created to help psychotherapists treat phobias. The VR experience involves a hyper-realistic simulation in which patients face a child version of their virtual selves, who then guides them through the dizzying rooftop scene under a therapist’s supervision.

“The so-called ‘inner child’ interacts with the patient, gradually helping him or her overcome a specific fear — in this case the fear of heights — by tapping into the patient’s free inner child ego state,” Vytautas Kemesis, TeleSoftas’ chief technology officer, told Digital Trends. “While interacting with our inner child, we challenge our deeply held beliefs that form in early childhood, before our critical receptors are mature.”

-The therapist tracks the patient’s stress parameters live at all times, and can adjust the actions of the avatar accordingly. Stress=level monitoring is carried out via sensors in a wrist-worn tracker, as well as the VR headset itself. Metrics that are measured include eye movement, heartbeat, perspiration, and skin temperature. These stress parameters allow a patient to be safely pushed to their limits and overcome their anxiety over a period of time — courtesy of a gamified system that lets them try and improve on their previous numbers.

“There haven’t been any clinical trials yet to prove its effectiveness,” Kemesis said. “However, transactional analysis theory, which is what our technology is based on, has been applied for many years to treat various mental disorders and phobias. VR Inner Child is [currently] only a prototype created to show the possibilities that open when IT and medical experts combine their know-how and collaborate to challenge the mental health care industry.”

A demo of the experience will be shown off next week at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. Oh, and if you’re not afraid of heights, subsequent phobia-challenging VR experiences promise to include open and closed spaces, public speaking, and spiders!

Home Theater

Sling TV ramps up its base programming with Discovery Networks for free

Sling TV has grown a great deal since its launch. Now there are more channels and more packages to chose from, with prices to match, and more is being added all the time. Everything you need to know is right here.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.

The best sleeping bags to help you conquer the cold, no matter what season it is

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

Scoot your commute! Here are the 9 best electric scooters on the market

Electric scooters are an affordable, convenient way to minimize your carbon footprint and zip around town. Check out 8 of our current favorites, whether you're working with a budget or have some cash to spare.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.

Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.
Emerging Tech

Hear the sounds of wind on Mars from InSight’s latest audio recording

NASA's InSight craft has captured the sound of the wind blowing on the surface of Mars. The audio file was picked up by the air pressure sensor and the seismometer which detected vibrations from the 10 to 15 mph winds in the area.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.
Emerging Tech

It’s no flying car, but the e-scooter had a huge impact on city streets in 2018

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.