Pervasive Computing Paradigms for Mental Health. 9th International Conference, MindCare 2019, Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 23–24, 2019, Proceedings

Research Article

Full Body Immersive Virtual Reality System with Motion Recognition Camera Targeting the Treatment of Spider Phobia

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  • @INPROCEEDINGS{10.1007/978-3-030-25872-6_18,
        author={Jacob Kritikos and Stavroula Poulopoulou and Chara Zoitaki and Marilina Douloudi and Dimitris Koutsouris},
        title={Full Body Immersive Virtual Reality System with Motion Recognition Camera Targeting the Treatment of Spider Phobia},
        proceedings={Pervasive Computing Paradigms for Mental Health. 9th International Conference, MindCare 2019, Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 23--24, 2019, Proceedings},
        proceedings_a={MINDCARE},
        year={2019},
        month={7},
        keywords={Virtual reality Cognitive behavioral treatments Exposure therapy Anxiety disorders Specific phobias Motion tracking sensor Motion recognition camera Presence Clinical treatment Immersion},
        doi={10.1007/978-3-030-25872-6_18}
    }
    
  • Jacob Kritikos
    Stavroula Poulopoulou
    Chara Zoitaki
    Marilina Douloudi
    Dimitris Koutsouris
    Year: 2019
    Full Body Immersive Virtual Reality System with Motion Recognition Camera Targeting the Treatment of Spider Phobia
    MINDCARE
    Springer
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-25872-6_18
Jacob Kritikos1,*, Stavroula Poulopoulou2,*, Chara Zoitaki1,*, Marilina Douloudi3,*, Dimitris Koutsouris1,*
  • 1: National Technical University of Athens
  • 2: University of Piraeus
  • 3: National Kapodistrian University of Athens
*Contact email: jkritikos@biomed.ntua.gr, stavroula.plplou2@gmail.com, charazoitaki@gmail.com, marilina.douloudi@gmail.com, dkoutsou@biomed.ntua.gr

Abstract

Exposure Therapy (ET) is one of the most widely-used methods for treating Specific Phobias, and, over the past few years, Virtual Reality (VR) has contributed significantly in this field, since the birth of what we call “Virtual Reality ET” (VRET). However, VR systems used in VRET so far do not fully integrate ET characteristics; the reason behind this is that they do not provide sufficient, or occasionally not any at all, interaction with the feared stimulus, which is a key factor for full ET implementation. Objective: The aim of our study is to propose a way to include natural interaction between the patient and the system during the treatment procedure. Method: We propose an addition to current session protocols for mental health professionals through which they can apply ET in full extent with the use of motion tracking sensors. Specifically, we added a Motion Recognition Camera, which tracks the patient’s movements and places their physical body within the virtual environment, increasing their feeling of presence and making the system more immersive. Therefore, clinicians can assign interactive tasks for their patients to practice within a controlled virtual environment. Results: We present the feedback we received regarding the system’s potential utility and efficiency by a group of psychiatry professionals who tried the system. Impact: With real-time interaction and VRET, patients stand a better chance to truly acquire the necessary skills to overcome their phobias.