Virtual reality headsets aren’t toys, Samsung says: They can also be used to make a big difference in people’s lives.
The company has tried to prove it by using the Gear VR to virtually put a faraway father in the delivery room, when his wife gave birth to their third son, an event he would have otherwise missed.
Samsung united Jace and Alison Larke, from Perth in Australia — the couple was were separated by 2,500 miles due to Jace’s work commitments — when Alison was about to give birth. Samsung stepped in to make it possible for Jace to be present on the day, using the Gear VR headset.
A special room was set up in the Queensland mining town of Chinchilla for Jace to wear the Gear VR, while in a Perth hospital room all those hundreds of miles away, a 360-degree camera, audio equipment, and a live streaming rig were installed inside Alison’s delivery room.
Using the Gear VR, Jace could not only virtually see the entire room and all those inside it, but he could also interact with Alison, and eventually get to see the birth of his new son. On February 20, Steele Larke was born in that room, and despite being physically on the other side of Australia from each other, Jace and Alison were together when it happened.
While the video is a good advertisement for the Gear VR, and its ability to bring people together in a unique way, there is a considerable amount of additional technology and know-how required to make this kind of thing happen. Perhaps we’ll see the creation of companies renting out the equipment to people in similar situations in the future.
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