Virtual reality has the potential to transform the way we think about all kinds of interactions. Samsung's latest idea is a perfect example of that. The Bedtime VR Stories, an in-development app offers a prime example of how VR can be a tool to connect with someone across long distances.
The Bedtime VR Stories app seeks to bridge the divide between busy parents and their children by bringing the two together for story time in virtual reality.
The app allows a parent to meet their child in VR to tell them a
bedtime story using a combination of VR and VOIP (Voice Over Internet
Protocol). Each story takes about six to seven minutes, and only
requires a Samsung Gear VR and smartphone for the parent and a special cardboard viewer for the child.
The demonstration video shows just how compelling the experience can be for both the child and the parent, and yet another video allows you to sample in first person what both viewers see when a story is being told.
The app is still a prototype at this point, but Samsung says it's
currently being tested with select families in the UK. The parent wears a
Gear VR while the child wears a Google Cardboard headset (decorated
with one of three character masks), and both enter the same virtual
world. The parent then narrates the story, titled Most Wonderful Place to Be, which sees them traveling between three "magical places" while sitting on their bed.
Samsung isn't saying when they might release the software to a wider audience, but they may have hit upon a pretty fantastic idea. Although the VR graphics and character animation look basic, the idea of placing both parent and child on the same virtual bed as they explore new lands has a lot of potential. As a conceptual setting, it's also easy to understand while working around the limitations of VR.
While it's easy to get caught up in all the technical aspects of VR, ideas like this are what could make the experience special. Of course, the notion of pumping light into your kids' eyes via Gear VR right before bedtime could present a potential wrinkle for getting to sleep, but it's an interesting example of the possibilities for VR nonetheless. As of now there's no timeline on when Bedtime VR Stories may be available.