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J Med Signals Sens. 2018 Oct-Dec;8(4):231-237. doi: 10.4103/jmss.JMSS_27_18.

Claustrophobia Game: Design and Development of a New Virtual Reality Game for Treatment of Claustrophobia.

Author information

1
Department of Information Technology, Safahan Institute of Higher Education, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.
2
Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Advanced Technologies in Medicine and Medical Image and Signal Processing Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.
3
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

Abstract

Background:

Claustrophobia or fear of closed spaces is the most common of phobias that is typically categorized as an anxiety disorder. Different methods have been proposed for treatment of phobias that one of the most recent and successful of these methods is applying virtual reality (VR) technology and simulating computer-generated environment. In this regard, the purpose of this research is design and development of a software game called "Claustrophobia Game" for treatment of claustrophobia using VR.

Methods:

In the Claustrophobia Game project, two closed spaces, including an elevator and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device, were designed and implemented in the form of a VR computer game. To design this game, environments and scenario of the game were prepared in collaboration with a psychiatrist expert. Implementation of the software game was developed in the unity three-dimensional (3D) game engine and the programming of it was done by the C# language. In addition, a personal computer and the Oculus Rift VR glasses were utilized for running and testing the Claustrophobia Game.

Results:

To evaluate, we tested the game by 33 participants (14 men, 19 women, average age 24.6 years). In this regard, the Claustrophobia Game was considered from two aspects: psychology and playability using two questionnaires. Statistical analysis of the obtained data by the Excel software showed that all playability factors were "good" performance. In addition, the mean of obvious anxiety was decreased after playing the game.

Conclusion:

The promising results demonstrate that the game has an appropriate performance and can help to treat the Claustrophobia.

KEYWORDS:

Claustrophobia; game software development; phobia; treatment game; virtual reality

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