Sunday, May 01, 2016

Could virtual reality be the next step in parenting?

This app can possibly turn out to be many city-dwelling working parents’ favourite tool with work-life balance hanging unhealthily in a relationship that requires lots of love and interaction before time silently weakens the natural bonding process.

Raising children is today's fast-paced world is a difficult challenge. From frequent work-related travels to working late hours, many parents are unable to dedicate much time to their little ones and it can be tough on those who've grown habituated to the soothing ritual of the goodnight hug or bedtime story.

Technology has already gifted these parents the option to move on from the bedtime phone call to the bedtime video chat. But now, an app developed by Samsung lets parents and children reunite for bedtime stories in virtual reality.

The Bedtime VR Stories app, which is still in the prototype stage, combines elements of the traditional bedtime story— words appear on screen and parents, can read them aloud—with games and animation. Using Gear VR and Google Cardboard headsets – with funny faces, children can hear their parents reciting the story remotely and interact with them as if they are in the same room.

The Verge reports that the Bedtime VR Stories app lets parents and children go on a virtual journey together and the little ones do only listen to their parent read a story but are asked to interact with their environment in different ways as they travel together through an animated world of animals, dinosaurs, and robots.

“With both sat on a magical bed, they go on a journey that takes them from the bedroom to three magical places. First stop is the Arctic, in the company of Jen the Penguin. Next, Dan the Dinosaur takes them to meet the rest of his family in a pre-historic world. Finally, they fly into outer space with Robot Jo, for a musical finale," Samsung said in a press release.

The Verge in its report says that the app looked like it only worked with the Galaxy S7 Edge and Gear VR headset. It also notes that the app it is currently being tested with select families in the UK, and Samsung has not yet announced an official release date.

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