A world-first live streaming virtual reality birth (VR) using Samsung Gear VR has let an Australian father experience a life-defining moment he otherwise would have missed: the birth of his son.
Perth couple, Alison and Jace Larke, welcomed their third child, son Steele Larke, to the world on February 20. However, Jace, a ‘fly in, fly out’ electrical contractor, faced a hard decision when an unavoidable work commitment required him to be in Queensland on the due date: take the job and miss the imminent birth of his third son, or refuse it and remain in Perth with his heavily pregnant wife Alison, but miss out on the contract work.
Although in Chinchilla, a remote Queensland mining town, using the Samsung Gear VR headset, Jace was able to experience the birth in real time, almost as though he was standing in the Perth delivery room – 4,000 kilometres away.
A short film was produced to tell the family’s emotional and poignant story. The documentary-styled piece addresses a universal challenge that resonates with millions on a daily basis: the impossibility of being in two places at once.
Speaking about her experience, Alison says “after we found out I was five weeks pregnant with our third child, we watched our baby grow, found out he was a boy and dreamed about what the future may hold. Then at 30 weeks pregnant, Jace’s contract roster was confirmed and it was more than likely he would miss the birth our baby, pending a miracle. But that’s exactly what we got.
“We were given the opportunity to be involved in the Samsung project. Jace was able to see our son born & experience the birth as if he was in the room with me even though he was working away on the other side of the country. 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. It has been an absolutely amazing, once in a life time experience that has changed our lives forever.”
Arno Lenior, Chief Marketing Officer of Samsung, explains, “Being a father myself, I know how incredible the birth of a child is. 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.
“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. Through Alison and Jace’s story, we’re excited to be able to demonstrate how technology can help tackle the tyranny of distance and bring our loved ones closer.”