Death is a powerful thing. In a split second, we can go from happiness to sadness. A filled void starts to become empty and leaving us with a frightening and painful experience. Questions such as why or how can start to form. We start to mourn over a friend, relative, a pet or even your child that brought us so many happy memories that we wish and pray that we could have just one more day, just one more minute to say “I love you”. But what if, that one more day…that one more minute could continue on in Virtual Reality?
It looks like the technology is much closer than we might imagine it to be. On February 6, 2020, The MBC documentary called “I Met You” was shown in South Korea. It follows a mother of four children named Jang Ji-Sung and how her daughter, Nayeon, at just the age of seven, passed away from a very rare and incurable disease in 2016. One of the things that are interesting is that the production team used Virtual Reality to implement not only Nayeon’s face and body but her voice as well.
But how it worked maybe the most interesting. By using a child to caption the motions that were recorded as motion capture, the park as the place along with the memories of Nayeon and her Mother, it was all able to be reproduced inside the VR studio. The documentary starts out with Jang Ji-Sung in a green room with a VR headset and haptic gloves on is looking around. Then that familiar song starts to play that was her daughter’s favorite only to then see her daughter smiles an all come closer to her mother crying out “Mom” and then ask “Where have you been, Mom? Did you think about me?” Think about the emotions that not only Jang Ji-Sung was feeling, but her family as they watched.
But to then realize that her daughter was saying that she missed her mom only to have the mom say she missed her too. Of course, the first thing you would want to do is hug your child, would you be hesitant to do so? But what if the scene were to change from a park that you had so many fond and happy memories, then turned into a birthday party that with the power of VR allowed you to place the candles on the cake and then your child’s only wish was to not have you cry?
But it just goes to show how powerful the Virtual Reality platform can actually be. But if you had the opportunity to simply upload pictures, video, songs, places that allowed you and the one that was taken away too soon and be able to interact in a way that not only would help us mourn, would you? But think about how Virtual Reality can become the new way, the new standard to help preserve those memories just as pictures and video have been for so long.
The documentary is not in English, but if you have some time, check it out. And until we are able to get into this opportunity as a norm, remember that we do not know what tomorrow may bring so make that one more day and that one more minute count with the ones that you love.