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‘Maybe it’s a real paradise’: Mother reunited with dead seven-year-old daughter in virtual reality

Virtual reality technology has enabled a grief-stricken mother to be reunited with her dead daughter in South Korea , according to a documentary. Jang Ji-sung took part in documentary I Met You, in which a production team used VR technology to stage the emotional encounter. A simulation featuring Jang’s seven-year-old daughter Nayeon, who died of a rare disease in 2016, was created by the team and set in a park special to the pair.

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The mother of four said: “Maybe it’s a real paradise. I met Nayeon, who called me with a smile, for a very short time, but it’s a very happy time. I think I’ve had the dream I’ve always wanted.”

According to Aju Business Daily, a child model was used for motion capture and Nayeon’s face, body and voice were used to bring the virtual girl to life. The tearful moment Jang “met” her daughter again was captured in the documentary.

The child’s father, brother and sister watched from the sidelines.

Jang could be seen wearing VR goggles and bursting into tears when her virtual daughter ran towards her in the simulation, saying: “Where have you been, Mum? Did you think about me?”

Jaron Lanier created a virtual reality device in the 1980’s (EyePhone 1/HRX) and costed up to $49,000 for the goggles and gloves.

“I do all the time,” Jang replied and reached out to touch Nayeon. She was even able to “hold” the virtual girl’s hand.

In a blog which was shut down the day after the broadcast, Jang said she agreed to appear in the documentary to provide comfort for “someone who has lost a child like me, or who has lost a brother or a parent”.

“Three years later, i now think I should love her more than I miss her... so that I can be confident when I meet her later,” she added.

“I hope many people will remember Nayeon after watching the show.”

The documentary aired on 6 February on South Korean TV network, Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).
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