Imagine the scenario — you’re eating dinner, but it’s something you cooked in the microwave and you’re sitting at home in your apartment. Yes, a fancy restaurant would be ideal, but that’s expensive. The solution? In Samsung’s vision of the future, the solution would be strapping one of its Gear VR headsets to your face and eating while surrounded by the virtual version of that aforementioned fancy restaurant.
Samsung details such things on its website, where it talks to potential restaurants about “launching a virtual reality experience” for their diners and how such an experience would need to “integrate all five senses.” This experience would presumably be an augmented reality experience, not a truly VR experience — otherwise there might be an unfortunate mishap with a misplaced fork or spilled drinks.
What kind of augmented and/or virtual reality experiences are we talking about? Says Samsung:
You dine on the first course of the meal in a garden in Tuscany … when your main course arrives, you now find yourself underwater with dolphins playing and fish swimming … You can even see bubbles arising from your drinks and water splashes on the table in 3D.
Of course, you could just order a bubbly drink in the real world and accidentally spill a little bit over the course of things, and not have to deal with a contraption on your face.
Never mind how ridiculous it looks to wear a VR headset, nor the idea of dining in a fake environment — the setup poses some big questions. For example, how degraded will the dining experience be when one is forced to use the passthrough camera on their phone?
Anyone who has used the feature on the Gear VR knows the camera produces a very poor-quality look at the surrounding world. If a passthrough camera isn’t used, how is someone supposed to eat without making a mess of things? Motion tracking can only do so much; will the system alert you when a stray pea rolls away?
Apparently such VR dining experiences have already happened twice at the Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza. Would you consider trying it out if you had the opportunity, or is it a terrible idea that should never catch on?