Cure phobia trough immersive VR scenario

Hello there,

My name is Balthazar, I’m currently studying software engineering in Geneva and I have the following project for my bachelor.

The goal: cure phobia, irrational fear, through virtual reality. (This is already used sometimes. But it is very expensive as they usually have to design a custom scenario for each patient…)

What I’ll use: Oculus rift, a Kinect, several physiological captors, Unreal engine for the graphic part, JAVA for monitoring.

How it will work:

A phobic person will have to face his fear inside an adaptive scenario.
A therapist will be able to monitor the scenario and his patient. This will be done with an external app.
So… let’s say, the patient suffers arachnophobia. He has to open several baskets. In those baskets, he may find a spider. On the external app, the therapist will see how close the patient his to the basket (which will be a PopingPhobicObject) and with one click, he will be able to erase the spider, or to populate one before basket’s opening, depending on the patient’s behavior (his he too anxious? His he calm?).
Beside that, the phobic element (spider) will have an IA that the therapist will monitor too. He may choose, for example, if the spider will walk toward the patient or not.

So basically, in Ureal engine I’ll have:

Some “PopingObject” that can pop phobic elements (spiders) and that can send through network socket several contextual information (How close am I to the patient? Will I pop a phobic object?).

An adaptatif environnement. Indeed, customisation is important for patients… so the therapist may want to easily change some settings in the environment. I think I’ll offer a choice of textures for the ground, the sky, maybe a choice between sets of decorative elements…

A patient’s avatar controlled by kinect.

As a “proof of concept” I’m heading for a vertigo scenario. The JAVA app, the interface of scenarios’ customization and captors connectivity are already designed, as I have to follow the hard but good way for this project: Use case - diagram - techno scheme - constant documentation…
If some of you find an interest in this project, I’ll post her my work and sometimes I may ask you some small thing about UE. (any spontaneous help, advices, are welcome ;))
It will go slowly. I may continue it during my master… so two-three years. And actually, I still have other course beside this project, I never used Unreal Engine… and I’m not fluent with C++. (some may say it will be impossible… well… I may not have knowledge, but I have will. And good teachers :slight_smile: )
Speaking about lack of knowledge… If you see which Unreal Object I may use as “PopingObjects” (something that can handle an “updateMyStatueThroughNetworkEachXSeconds” kind of thing) … I’ll be glade to hear about that. I found this Actor Replication | Unreal Engine Documentation. Not sure if it’ll do the trick for this specific use.

I hope my English is OK. It’s not my native language, sorry.

Best regards,

P.S This project, if it goes well, will be open source (for the part I’ll own…)

Hello Balthazar,
i am very interested in your project. Have you some pictures from your UE4-Project so far?

Kind regards,

Hello, Andreas

Thank you for your interest!
I know it’s a forum about a graphic engine, so pictures and videos are what we are looking for. But so far, I’ve worked on conceptualisation and general system design.
Pictures will come in January I hope. I’m heading for the most realist graphics possible, and with my lack of knowledge, a simple scene will need lots of work.

I’ll update this thread as soon as I have something to show :slight_smile:


Hello Balthazar,
thank you very much for your replay!
I am very curious about your project and the Pictures.

I have searched a lot about good CG-Spiders on the Internet. And this one is one of the best that i have found so far and it’s realy realistic:
Kind regards,

Hello again,

That is amazing! Thank you! I’ll add that to my reading! If I can get close to this, I will have trouble to test it myself in VR. :slight_smile:

Best regards,

Hello Balthazar,
Here is a pdf-Document from the creator of the “procedural Spider” if you like:

If you wish i can give you a good looking model from a 3D-Spider too.
Kind regards,

Hello Andreas,

I don’t think I’ll start with arthropods kind of fear for my project, as it is very complicated to animate. BUT this thesis look full of useful information, I’ll read parts of it.
So… well, if you share your spider, I sure will take a look at it. But I can’t promise you I’ll use it soon.

Best regards,

This is a very cool idea! I bet it will be used widely in medical applications one day. Really awesome you’ve thought of using this technology in this way.

Well, I thought the same at first. Then I discovered that the idea is already done and used. And it is very efficient. But, very expensive and it uses specialized tech.
What I’ll do is make it cheaper and use public tech.
The good part is that I will be able at some point to work with our university her in Geneva to see what they already use and to (maybe) collaborate actively with some therapists.

All this will be noted her as soon as it comes. This thread will act as my diary. Like that, I’ll practise my English, and I may even receive cool advice as Andreas already gave. :slight_smile:

P.S well… not exactly as my diary. Today I made some ugly sketches of the JAVA user interfaces… I’ll spare you that. you’ll see it as soon as it’s coded and running :wink:

Hey! Dean Kamen revolutionized the medical industry with his Auto-Syringe/Dialysis. It was widely used, expensive & complicated to operate, and way too big. He made it portable and automatic so people didn’t have to wait at the Dialysis centers all day anymore, and could do it from home. I see your project in the same light.

Hello Again,
another idea for you is this:

Interaction with Leap Motion:
I Mean with the Leap Motion Hardware and a UE4-Spider Software we have a directly INTERACTION between the Spider and our Hand’s. We can use our hands and the Spider run’s over my Hand’s = That’s absolutly horror for me but’s it’s only a Virtual procedural Spider…

Kind regards,

Hahha, yea, I really DON’T want to see a super high detailed spider in this thing… No need for me to face that fear any time soon, I’ve gone 30 years without doing so!


About the Leap Motion:
I already checked the Leap. It is indeed really good. I tested it into the Oculus, and was very impressed. At one point, the Leap lost track of my hand, and my virtual hand fade out… I really felt my hand tickled, like if my brain was telling me, “whooo dud, your hand is going away”.
But Kinect can provide almost the same thing, and I don’t need to directly look at my hand to see it. What I’ll do is take Leap information for the hand when I have some, otherwise I’ll use Kinect’s information. So the Leap will be the last thing implemented, if the Kinect don’t do the trick.

About giant spiders… well… at one point, just for fun, yes, there will be one. But never in the final app. I promise :slight_smile:

best regards,

actually, your project seems so interesting to me. i am an IT student and i would like to ask you if you could send me the conception elements ( Use case - diagram - techno scheme - constant documentation) of the monitoring application the therapist will use. that’s because i’am about to do the same in my training internship at a VR Lab.

thanks for help.

kind regards