Nobody wants to find a spider on their cellphone, but a research team from a Swiss university says that doing so might cure you of your fear of the creepy crawlers. Of course, the spiders they mean are the virtual kind, as in augmented reality (AR), and they appear on your phone as images through an app known as Phobys – a play on the word phobia, which means fear.
Arachnophobia is one of the most common fears among people, and the University of Basel team says that in a trial, people who spent two weeks using Phobys were much more capable of approaching spiders in a glass case than those who had not used the app.
"It's easier for people with a fear of spiders to face a virtual spider than a real one," said Anja Zimmer, the study's lead author. The $5 app is broken down into 10 levels, so that users can be assessed for the degree of their fear and take steady steps toward overcoming it.
Web of truths:
- Spiders typically work alone, but some establish colonies consisting of thousands of members that cast huge webs to catch prey they can share.
- Spider webs are stronger and tougher by weight than steel.
- Spiders always have an even number of eyes, though not necessarily eight; some have six and some have fewer.