Perth’s Jace Larke, an electrical contractor, was working on a mine site in remote Chinchilla, Queensland when his wife Alison was due to give birth.
Using the Samsung Gear VR headset, Jace was able to meet his newborn son Steele inside the 3D delivery room – an experience his wife described as “life-changing”.
“For me it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders knowing he would not be missing out on such a precious moment in our lives and we would virtually be experiencing the birth together,” she said.
“It has been an absolutely amazing, once in a life time experience that has changed our lives forever.”
The technology was launched in January and is primarily aimed at entertainment, with Qantas taking it up for first class passenger use in lounges and on flights. But Samsung is hoping to broaden the headset’s applications, with the virtual birth project a pilot for potential new uses. The trial was filmed and involved setting a 360-degree camera inside the delivery room for live transmission to Jace and the headset. He and his wife were also equipped with earpieces for communication.
Samsung chief marketing officer Arno Lenior described the project as a “true innovation”.
“As one of the leaders in technology innovation, Samsung wanted to demonstrate the potential of virtual reality and how this unique technology can address real challenges people face every day,” he said.
“Alison and Jace’s story is familiar to millions of Australians and the reality of being away from family and friends is a heart-wrenching experience that most of us understand. But through the power of the Gear VR technology, we could help Jace welcome his third son into the world in an exciting, unique way.
“This is true innovation. This is what technology is all about; enabling human experiences.”
The short film can be viewed on YouTube here: