Using Ultrasonic Haptics Within an Immersive Spider Exposure Environment to Provide a Multi-Sensorial Experience

Daniel Brice*, Zara Gibson, Fintan McGuinness, Karen Rafferty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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A proof of concept virtual reality system is presented that integrates ultrasonic feedback sensations to provide a demonstrative virtual reality exposure therapy environment containing multiple scenarios with virtual spiders. This system and environment were utilised to conduct a study containing 35 participants with the goal of investigating the effect the environment could have on their level of anxiety. This level of anxiety was measured in three different forms: changes in frontal asymmetry analysis of EEG data, changes in skin conductance levels and subjective units of distress. The Fear of Spiders Questionnaire was used to determine which participants in the study reported to be moderately afraid of spiders. For these participants all three measurement forms for anxiety showed statistically significant increases in a comparison between baseline and scenarios with the virtual spiders. A statistically significant correlation between scores on the Fear of Spiders Questionnaire and changes in anxiety shows the system to have had a greater effect on the anxiety levels of those who were more afraid of spiders, than those who were not. There was also a statistically significant correlation discovered between immersion and increase in anxiety, highlighting the significance of immersion in future virtual reality exposure therapy applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number707731
JournalFrontiers In Virtual Reality
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partially supported by the Centre for Intelligent Autonomous Manufacturing Systems (i-AMS).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 Brice, Gibson, McGuinness and Rafferty.


  • haptics
  • immersion
  • spiders
  • ultrasonic feedback
  • virtual reality
  • VRET

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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