Samsung shows how virtual reality can help defeat fear of public speaking

Samsung has started a new #BeFearless series on its website through which it brings us stories of people who have used virtual reality technology to get over their fears. The company wants to cement its position as a major player in the VR arena and the series will only help showcase the abilities of its VR technology which it has already started highlighting in advertisements and marketing materials.

Part 1 of the #BeFearless series brings us the story of Salminaz Shimshilova, a 29-year-old fashion designer from Dubai, who had a fear of public speaking. Samsung pioneered this program for the Gear VR headset and called for volunteers to take part in four-week step-by-step immersive virtual coaching programs to help them overcome their fears. Volunteers encountered a range of daunting scenarios in the virtual world with each scenario having four levels of difficulty. Participants were encouraged to repeat levels until they felt fully confident, they had to pass stages to advance to the next level. Samsung based the tests on scientific and medically proven criteria with changes in heart rate being measured using Gear S smartwatches aside from taking into account the amount of virtual eye contact and self-assessed anxiety checks.

After four weeks of VR training Salminaz was able to overcome her fear of public speaking as she successfully delivered a talk in front of a large crowd at the Courtyard Playhouse theater in Dubai. “The program helped me get over my fears,” said Salminaz following her four-week program, “It was a great idea,” she remarked. Samsung also highlights the stories of Maria Melkosyants who aspires to be a teacher and of Franziska Eichenaur, a student who had trouble making presentations in class, and how both of them were able to benefit from VR training to overcome their fear of public speaking.

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