Researchers at King?s College London have created a very unique experience for those who suffer from paranoia and dislike confined spaces, with the London underground one of the more common areas of society which people seem to have real fear about. King?s College has used the latest virtual reality technology to create a virtual trip on the underground where users can interact with virtual ?passengers? mimicking real life situations and allowing them to see that perhaps their paranoia and fears are unfounded.
Wearing one of the latest virtual reality headsets, researchers at the college allowed a number of people to create the look and feel of a 4 minute journey on the tube, where virtual passengers breathed, laughed, spoke and acted as if they were really on the London underground. Using the latest sound and visual aids they found they were able to recreate the exact situation which many passengers have become fearful of over the years, and advise them how best to cope, relaxation techniques but perhaps more importantly allow them to see from a distance that there really is nothing to be concerned about.
Historically research into paranoia and other such fears has relied upon an array of questionnaires, and while they do offer some kind of insight into the thoughts and fears of someone in that situation, they did not allow researchers to monitor physical reactions. The interaction of virtual technology together with professional counseling should ensure that more and more people are able to face their fears head on and turn around their lives. Conditions such as paranoia can debilitate a person and for many they are life changing ? often getting worse and worse as the person gets older and becomes more and more reserved.
Virtual conditions curing real life conditions, now that is progress!