Virtual Reality Helps a Dad Watch His Son's Birth -- From 2,500 Miles Away!

Although I slept or cried for most of the 23 hours I was in the delivery room, I was keenly aware that my husband was at my side the whole time. And I was stronger because of it.

But not everyone is so lucky, a point driven home by  a new Samsung ad for a virtual reality headset. (h/t Design Taxi) In the six-minute video, we meet two Australian parents, Jace and Allison, who were separated by some 2,500 miles during the birth of their third child. The reason? Jace's job in a remote part of Queensland.

Before the baby's birth, the couple seemed to be taking the distance in stride—to a point. As Allison said, "There have been times when it's been really emotional and hard to think about going through it all on my own."

Not too many years ago, Allison would have had to go this alone -- and Jace would have had to settle for a recap by phone. But technology has changed how we experience things. Now far-off dads (and anyone else, for that matter) can bear witness to life's biggest moments with little more than a cell phone and a hotspot. Advances like Skype and FaceTime have done wonders for bridging the distance. And now, thanks to Samsung's space age-y virtual reality headset, the distance can feel even shorter.

The headset looks vaguely like the ViewMaster we all had growing up, but it's tricked out with much cooler features, like being able to see 360 degrees in 2D and 3D. The folks at Samsung actually filmed every aspect of Allison's birth and then live-streamed it to Jace's location so that he could follow the laboring mom-to-be on a tour of the delivery room and even give a shout-out to his mother-in-law, Rosemary, who was filling in as the birth partner.

Most importantly, Jace can also offer encouragement in the final stretch of Allison's labor and be able to really feel like he's there in the room, witnessing the miracle of his baby's birth!

"Healthy boy, healthy mum, and I got to see it," he later shared, his face awash with sheer exhaustion and relief. "Nothing better than seeing your baby for the first time."

For parents who can't always be there -- for a baby's birth, for a birthday party, a school play, heck, even an at-home playdate -- this new technology could be a game-changer.

As for the video? Check it out video for yourself -- and have a tissue nearby, just in case:

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on TwitterPinterest, and Google+

Screen shot of baby's birth courtesy of Samsung via YouTube.

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