Bedtime reading is a precious time for a parent and child. It’s a calming few minutes of bonding time and imagination exploration at the end of a long day. Samsung in England, however, sees a way this moment could be quite a bit different with VR involved.
Through an app that could theoretically connect a child and parent using Google Cardboard and/or Gear VR, the pair could be connected with voice chat and head movements in a shared virtual world inspired by a storybook. The VR masks from Samsung could resemble a penguin or frog, letting a kid essentially pick what kind of avatar they want to have in VR.
Here’s how Samsing pitches the concept:
Sharing a bedtime story is incredibly special. But longer working days and hectic schedules make this harder to do. At Samsung we believe that technology should bring us closer together. That’s why we developed Bedtime VR Stories, so parents and children can enjoy a story together, even when they’re apart. Using individual VR headsets, the app creates a VR story environment where parent and child can see and interact with each other, for an immersive shared experience. Bedtime VR Stories is currently being developed for full release.
This is a fascinating application for VR because it raises lots of questions about the place technology should sit in our lives. Are parents likely to use this technology to supplement nighttime reading — like when away on business trips as Samsung suggests — or as a replacement for traditional bedtime reading? Does the child lose anything by getting a reading session with so many lush visuals right before bed? Is the relationship between parent and child changed at all after regular VR reading sessions? Of course, what if a child is able to find greater focus on the book’s subject matter and their parent’s voice than if they were looking around a room littered with a bunch of toys?
With Samsung saying it is developing the app for full release, there’s a good chance we’ll get answers to these questions eventually. What do you think?