A new app Phobys, designed by researchers at the University of Basel, uses augmented reality to help users overcome their fears of arachnids.
Put down your can of bug spray people, no longer do you need to recoil at the sight of an eight-legged hairy friend!
Through a combination of hyper-realistic images and interactive stages of engagement, Phobys uses “exposure therapy” to dramatically reduces any “spidey” fears.
Researchers conducted a clinical trial with 66 participants over the course of two weeks.
Those who suffered from a fear of spiders used the app for roughly six and a half hours, compared to a controlled group that did not use the app at all.
Those who used the app reported much less “fear” and “disgust” of arachnids than those in the control group.
“It’s easier for people with a fear of spiders to face a virtual spider than a real one.” Anja Zimmer, lead author of the study
The app is available in app stores for both iPhone and Android, with researchers advising that people who suffer from “serious” fears of spiders should use the app under supervision.
I know what you’re thinking, could this just be one big arachnid conspiracy to throw us off the scent of their evil plan?
"You tell those spiders, Ron." – Harry Potter pic.twitter.com/vfm87LaIf0
— Potterhead Posts (@PotterheadPosts) April 9, 2021
Well not exactly, spiders are actually incredibly important to the larger ecosystem as they play a vital role in the control of insect species.
Assistant Professor of Biology at McPherson College Dustin Wilgers explains:
“Because of their broad appetite, many spiders play an important role in their communities by regulating the density of other invertebrate herbivores and predators.”
So there you have it people, next time you reach for your shoe to put that harmless house spider out of its misery just think about the broader ecosystem for a second.
Maybe try Phobys instead!
Alternatively, there is another app called Critterpedia, which allows you to identify the species of a spider to see if it’s poisonous or not!
Download links below: