(Source: Samsung)

Tech Report

By: Nick Gambino

Samsung has unveiled “Bedtime VR Stories”, a prototype VR app intended for away-parents to “read” their kids a bedtime story before they go to sleep.

Here’s how it works. First the parent goes away. This is important, otherwise…you know…just do it the old-fashioned way and pick up a book.

The kid puts on a Google Cardboard headset designed to look like one of three characters while the parent puts on the Samsung Gear VR.

(Source: Samsung)

They each launch the app and connect up so they’re both in the same VR world. They can start communicating at this point as the parent begins reading the story ironically titled “The Most Wonderful Place to Be.” The story unravels as they travel to three magical locations.

Samsung detailed the story in their press release, “First stop is the Artic, 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.”

Now, if you’re wondering how an elaborate VR experience just before bed is supposed to help a child fall asleep, well, so am I. Studies have shown that playing video games before bed decreases sleep quality and makes it harder for kids to fall asleep.

So if that’s the case with video games, imagine what would happen if you strapped a headset on and fully immersed them in a virtual world. I’m picturing the kid staring wide-eyed up at the ceiling afterwards, wired for hours like he just had a large jolt of caffeine.

(Source: Samsung)

Now I’ll admit, it’s a cool idea to allow parents to interact with their kids over long distance. But why make it a bedtime story? Make it an “After Dinner Adventure” or even “Let’s Eat Dinner Together” app. Though that last one might get a bit messy.

I might be knocking the app but hey at least someone is using technology to bring parents and kids closer. What better way to put your kid to sleep and say I love you then by stimulating all of their senses while you’re hundreds of miles away?

The bedtime stories app is currently only being tested with various families in the UK with no word yet on a wider release.

Do you think this Bedtime VR Stories app is a good idea or will it have the opposite effect and keep the kid wide awake? Comment below or join the conversation on Twitter!


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.

To find out more about NewsWatch on the Discovery Channel, check out our Vimeo channel!


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