IPN student develops phobia desensitization software

So patients can face their fears in a rather controlled manner

Photo: Courtesy of IPN
English 30/12/2017 11:33 Teresa Moreno Mexico City Actualizada 11:36
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A virtual reality scenario that recreates the fears and phobias of psychiatric patients could become an option to face this mental disorders and overcome them.

Adriana Martínez Estrada, a student of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), developed a therapeutic system that helps to overcome phobias through virtual experiences.

The phobia desensitization software was developed at the School of Computing (Escom) aided by both researchers and psychiatrists of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

The therapeutic immersive system is called Sasufo short for Sistema auxiliar para la superación de fobias (Auxiliary System for the Overcoming of Phobias).

On Twitter, IPN wrote in Spanish: "Adriana Martínez, a student of the Escom, designed an auxiliary system for phobia therapies. It uses Oculus Rift and a sensory headband that reads brainwaves to measure stress levels."

Sasufo recreates scenarios with virtual reality, so patients can face their fears in a rather controlled manner, thus the software could become an auxiliary tool in phobia treatments.

Sasufo includes a sensory band, called muse, which reviews brain waves, alpha, gamma, and beta, although the latter detects them in a range of 13 to 39 megahertz to measure sensations such as stress, anxiety, or fear," explained Martínez Estrada.

Nyctophobia (fear of the dark) and acrophobia (fear of heights) are two phobias that Sasufo can treat as the Oculus Rift allows the patient to simulate being in a dark room or on top of a skyscraper providing an immersive experience in which the user has the freedom of movement to explore the virtual world.

According to Martha Rosa Cordero López and Marco Antonio Dorantes González, advisors for the project,  the scenarios were created in different levels in such a way that exposure to fear is progressive.


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