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About this app

Phobys is an augmented reality (AR) app to reduce fear of spiders. Test your fear in the two free test levels and then continue your training with the low cost full version. This can help you to deal more calmly with real spider situations and to feel less fear.

Who is Phobys designed for?
Phobys is suitable for those who suffer from a mild, clinically insignificant fear of spiders and who are at least 16 years of age.

Development of Phobys
The Phobys AR app is a tool developed by the University of Basel and MindGuide to help people adjust to spider situations. The training uses a scientifically proven approach to reduce fear, known as exposure therapy.
A realistic 3D AR spider model is projected into the real world which creates a virtual simulation of a spider actually being present.
To test the effectiveness of the treatment in real-life situations, the University of Basel conducted a randomized, controlled study. All the subjects either completed an at home training with Phobys (6 times for 30 minutes) or were assigned to a control group. Before and after treatment, the study participants approached a real spider in a sealed box as far as their fear allowed. The group that did the training with Phobys exhibited less fear and disgust in the real-life spider situation and were able to go closer to the spider in the box and even open the box. These effects were statistically significant and in size comparable to conventional therapy. The control group exhibited no positive changes. For further information, visit our website:

How does Phobys work?
The AR app Phobys consists of 10 levels with different tasks of exposure and interaction with a realistic 3D AR spider model or interact with it. Task instructions are given via small text pop-up windows within the levels.
You can test your fear with the free version and then continue your training and face your fear with the full version by unlocking all 10 levels at once and for all times. The training starts really easy by just looking at a spider from the distance and then gradually increases in difficulty and intensity of the exposure. Start with the lowest level and work your way up, step by step. After each level, indicate whether you were able to complete the tasks and rate your fear and disgust. You will be asked to repeat the level if your fear and disgust ratings are still high or you were not able to complete the tasks. When your fear and disgust ratings are low, and you feel comfortable enough, move on to the next level.
Each level starts with a surface scan of e.g. a table or the floor with a distance of approx. 1 meter to the surface, followed by a tap on the display, which places the 3D AR spider model in the scanned area. In order to assure the AR is working well, use a flat surface with some structure and good light. Make sure there are no objects lying around, otherwise multiple surfaces will be detected. Avoid hasty movements and don’t cover the camera.
You can stop the training at any time by closing the app. The progress will not be saved so you can start again at any level of your choosing.

Who is responsible for the Phobys AR app, and who can I contact if necessary?
MindGuide, a Division of the University of Basel spin-off GeneGuide
Birmannsgasse 8
4055 Basel
Updated on
Oct 28, 2021

Data safety

Safety starts with understanding how developers collect and share your data. Data privacy and security practices may vary based on your use, region, and age. The developer provided this information and may update it over time.
No data shared with third parties
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184 reviews
Toscira Fanshaw
October 4, 2021
It's true that the app has issues (every time I start it, the first time I open a level it will fail and show the "how to" again). Annoying, but wastes maybe 20 seconds. Driving to therapy would waste a lot more time. The effects are AMAZING. I've been seriously phobic all my life, and after working with this app daily for about ten days, I can tolerate everyday spiders just fine. Still wouldn't want to hold a tarantula, but I can look at pictures of them now without shuddering. LIFE CHANGING!
2 people found this review helpful
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October 20, 2021
Thanks so much for this comment! We are very happy to hear that – even with some technical issues and getting used to the app – it has a reducing effect on your fear of spiders! All the best for continuing your training.
Kate Smith
November 28, 2021
This is an excellent app BUT I wish it had an option to change the spider type. I didn't find the spiders in the app particularly scary because they look like ants. If I had the option to select a huntsman for example which is the spider I'm most afraid of I think this app would be more effective for me.
1 person found this review helpful
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January 21, 2022
Hi Kate! Thanks for this comment, we're happy to hear you like the app. Also thanks for the valuable input, we would love to expand Phobys to other types of spiders and even to other animals and objects in the future. So stay tuned and all the best for your training now!
Milan Kovacevic
October 13, 2021
Great idea,but a tad disappointed :( The Spider 🕷️ looks so fake that you can recognize it from a Airplane. Maybe the technology is just not there or the graphics are not up to par. Maybe a update in future with more realistic graphics will help, but for now i will have to give it 2**
1 person found this review helpful
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October 20, 2021
Thanks for your comment! Good to year that in general you like the idea. Improvements are also in our interest, we’ll see what future developments and research will bring!

What's new

Unlock Page text updated.
Welcome Page text updated.