Samsung unveiled its "Bedtime VR Stories" that's designed to bridge the gap between a traveling parent and a child, letting them share a bedtime story through the virtual world.
Yes, it's a real thing. Dubbed "the future of children's bedtime," the latest creation from team Samsung "combines the latest innovations in virtual reality with the power and importance of traditional storytelling."
Currently a prototype that's being tested in Europe, the product was made out of a thoughtful, but at the same time a little disturbing idea, as it conjures up a rather dystopian scene where the parents ditch the nightly rituals of lying with their child and reading out from a book for a headset-powered virtual world.
To its credit, the company hasn't once suggested that the headgears be used by parents staying at home, but rather by the working ones who travel a lot or are usually away from their children. But that will hardly stop the new-age ones from going for the "cooler," "Instagrammable" option of bedtime stories once the novel concept hits the world.
"However far apart they are, parents will be able to share that all-important bedtime story with their child, using VR technology to connect them in the same virtual world. The child will even hear their parent reciting the story and be able to interact with their parent as though they are in the same room," Samsung describes the product.
But for this to work as a successful bedtime event, you need to have two sets of headgears: one gear VR for the parent and one Google Cardboard headset, prettied up with character masks, for the child. Once that's in place, they can both enter the same virtual world together, where the parent narrates the story, "Most Wonderful Place To Be," that transports them to the magical world of Jen the Penguin, Dan the Dinosaur and finally Robot Jo in outer space.
Just how appropriate it is for a child to be donning the headset right before bedtime is another questionable matter altogether. VR enthusiasts (read: adults) claim that several weeks of playing with VR games through the likes of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have heavily disrupted their sleep patterns. So for a child, it is definitely a no-no to be staring right at a bright OLED display just before getting their good night's sleep.
However, having said that, as a product with a target group of customers, it has potential. Samsung, busy testing the prototypes, hasn't breathed a word yet about when it would be releasing Bedtime VR Stories to a wider audience.