Virtual reality gives therapists new tool


SAN FRANCISCO — Daybreak Jewell lately handled a affected person haunted by a automotive crash. The affected person had developed acute nervousness over the cross streets the place the crash occurred, unable to drive a route that carried so many painful reminiscences.

So Jewell, a psychologist in Colorado, handled the affected person via a way referred to as publicity remedy, offering emotional steerage as they revisited the intersection collectively.

However they didn’t bodily return to the location. They revisited it by way of digital actuality.

Jewell is amongst a handful of psychologists testing a brand new service from a Silicon Valley startup referred to as Limbix that gives publicity remedy by way of Daydream View, the Google headset that works in tandem with a smartphone.

“It offers publicity in a method that sufferers really feel protected,” she stated. “We will go to a location collectively, and the affected person can inform me what they’re feeling and what they’re considering.”

The service recreates outside places by tapping into one other Google product, Road View, an enormous on-line database of photographs that delivers panoramic scenes of roadways and different places around the globe. Utilizing these digital road scenes, Jewell has handled a second affected person who struggled with nervousness after being injured by one other individual outdoors an area constructing.

The service can also be designed to offer remedy in different methods, like taking sufferers to the highest of a digital skyscraper to allow them to face a worry of heights or to a digital bar to allow them to handle an alcohol habit.

Backed by the enterprise capital agency Sequoia Capital, Limbix is lower than 1 yr previous. The creators of its new service, together with its chief government and co-founder, Benjamin Lewis, labored within the seminal digital actuality efforts at Google and Fb.

The hardware and software program they’re working with continues to be very younger, however Limbix builds on greater than 20 years of analysis and medical trials involving digital actuality and publicity remedy. At a time when a lot-hyped headsets just like the Daydream and Fb’s Oculus are nonetheless struggling to discover a broad viewers on the planet of gaming — not to mention different markets — psychology is an space the place know-how and medical specialists consider this know-how could be a profit.

Way back to the mid-Nineteen Nineties, medical trials confirmed that this type of know-how might assist deal with phobias and different circumstances, like…



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