Before virtual reality, a man being almost 2,500 miles away from his wife, who was giving birth, would have meant that he would unfortunately miss the birth. But for Jason ‘Jace’ Larke the birth of his son was a remarkable event when he was able to view it through virtual reality. While in Chinchilla, virtual reality let the man watch his son’s birth while he was thousands of miles away. As Rapid VR, a Sydney, Australia based virtual reality company was on site to manage everything, Larke was able to technically be in two places at once, as he was able to see his son’s birth in Perth, from his remote location in Chinchilla.
Virtual Reality has already done amazing things. When it first came out for the use of games, alone, everyone wanted to see the action. It allowed people to seem as if they were in a different world. People can even get over their fears and anxiety through virtual reality therapy. As many companies have begun to explore the full possibilities of virtual reality, its experimentation is proving to create more opportunities.
The story of Jace and Alison Larke, is a first for virtual reality child birth. Rapid VR had put out a worldwide call, searching for suitable people to volunteer for a VR project. Many applied, but the Larke family was selected. Jace was able to be present for the birth of his other kids, but due to work obligations, it seemed he would have to miss the birth of his new son. As a fly-in-fly-out contractor, Jace had a contract commitment that put him 2,500 miles away, around Alison’s 30th week of pregnancy. The two just knew they would not be together when Alison went into labor.
But through a small miracle they were chosen as part of the Rapid VR virtual reality project. Jace strapped on a virtual reality headset at his remote location, where technicians on site had set up a private room for him with a Telstra 4G Wi-Fi connection. In Perth a cinematographer shot a 360-degree angle, as the film crew created a 3D reconstruction of the room. Before the event technicians had installed a satellite on the roof of the hospital to get a 4G Wi-Fi connection. Using the Samsung Gear VR headset, Jace was able to get the life-like experience of being in the room with his wife, as his son Steele was born. For six hours he wore the headset and participated in the first time virtual reality of child birth, which Rapid VR believed was a successful project.
This event took place, privately, on February 20, 2015, though footage has just now been released. Viewers can see the birth, without the gore, on Samsung LifeLIVE. Though streaming virtual reality may not be a large experience in hospitals, as hospitals always worry that technology will interfere with their equipment, the Samsung chief marketing officer, Arno Lenier, made comments that Samsung was only wanting to demonstrate how virtual reality could help people with every day challenges.
Lenier said that child birth is incredible and that technology is all about enabling human experiences. As the technology of the world has brought people closer, it seems that virtual reality may be even more helpful in bringing families together, even when they are apart. As Jace was the first man who was able to watch his son’s birth, while thousands of miles away, virtual reality may let others have similar experiences in the future. Users may also be able to use virtual reality to view rock concerts, sporting events, seminars, and other events from remote locations.
By Crystal Boulware