Researchers have created an augmented reality application that fills your desk with virtual hairy, red-and-black patterned spiders. The spiders even interact with real things on the desk, crawling over books and disappearing under pieces of paper. That’s probably not appealing to most people, but the research team, which includes a psychologist, hopes it will become a next-generation treatment for people with arachnophobia, which is a fear of spiders. Virtual reality spider phobia treatments already exist, but this application is particularly realistic, allowing people to poke the virtual spiders, pick them up and let them crawl up their arms. “People can have this next level,” said Adrian Clark, a computer scientist who worked on the application. He and his colleagues are part of the Human Interface Technology Lab at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.
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