A new app designed by researchers at the University of Basel, Switzerland, uses augmented reality to help users reduce their fear of spiders.

Phobys uses exposure therapy, through a combination of hyper-realistic images and interactive stages of engagement, to help people conquer their fears.

To test their technology, the researchers conducted a clinical trial with 66 participants with a fear of spiders over two weeks.

One group used the app for about six and a half hours, while a second group didn’t use it at all.

Those who used the app reported less “fear” and “disgust” than those in the control group.

Image: Phobys

“It’s easier for people with a fear of spiders to face a virtual spider than a real one,” said Anja Zimmer, the study’s lead author.

The app is available in app stores for iPhone and Android.

However, researchers have advised those who suffer from a “serious” fear of arachnids to use the app under the guidance of a therapist.

Image: Getty Images

This article first appeared on Over60.