A smartphone-based height training developed by the University of Basel. The training uses a scientifically proven approach to reduce fear, the so-called exposure therapy.
Virtual Reality (VR)
The smartphone app works together with wireless VR goggles. This allows easy and efficient treatment at home. A drone was used to take 360° images of real locations. This creates the feeling of actually being in these places in virtual reality.
During the height training in virtual reality, you stand on a platform that is initially one meter above the ground. After you have become accustomed to the height, the platform rises an additional meter. In this way, your position above the ground slowly but steadily increases without an accompanying increase in your fear level.
At the end of the virtual height training, you look down from your reached height level and hardly feel any fear. But is this training successful to reduce fear in real-life height situations? To test this, we have conducted a scientific study.
Scientific evidence of effectiveness
To test the effectiveness of the treatment in real-life situations, the University of Basel conducted a randomized, controlled study. In total, the study participants either completed four hours of height training in virtual reality with EASYHEiGHTS or were assigned to a control condition. Before and after treatment, the study participants climbed the Uetliberg observation tower near Zurich as far as their fear allowed. The group that had completed the EASYHEiGHTS training exhibited less fear on the tower and was able to climb higher towards the top.* The control group exhibited no positive changes.
You can download the publication on the study here.
* The effects are statistically significant and in size comparable to conventional therapy.
Alexander de Quervain
Dominique de Quervain
Anna Lena Seitz
Technical Requirements: EASYHEiGHTS works in combination with wireless VR glasses. This allows easy and efficient use at home. Required Android-Version: 4.4 or higher.