Samsung believes the future of dining is to strap a virtual reality headset to your face and pretend you are eating dinner while underwater and surrounded by fish. This is the latest, and by far the most bizarre, example of how the Gear VR can (but perhaps should not) be used.
This is not a parody and no, it is not 1 April. This is real, it has actually happened, and it even has some hilariously weird images to prove it. Let us waste no time in getting to the highlights, taken verbatim from the horse's mouth:
"You dine on the first course of the meal in a garden in Tuscany, surrounded by flowers with a winery in the distance. You adjust your Samsung gear VR glasses as a cool wind blows and you catch the rich fragrance of the gardens. But when your main course arrives, you now find yourself underwater with dolphins playing and fish swimming. Your Italian table setting has been transformed into an underwater experience and the light in the room has changed to reflect the underwater scene. You can even see bubbles arising from your drinks and water splashes on the table in 3D."
Really. This is a thing which Samsung, the world's largest phone maker, thinks we want. And so too does the author of this proposal, writer and hospitality industry expert Jennifer Goforth Gregory.
I have a lot of questions. Firstly, expecting diners to not make a mess of their pristine white shirts, while eating and downing massive glasses of red wine with their eyes covered, is a big ask. Secondly, why in the above picture is only one of the diners wearing the Gear VR?
And how is the woman able to maintain such a natural pose while chatting to a man with a phone on his face? Does she know he's actually watching the restaurant's VR app, and not something else?
How does one fill their glass, never mind pick it up? How do you pass the salt? How does the waiter pass the chip-&-PIN machine to someone who thinks they're dining with Flipper the dolphin?
VR dining requires 1.75 waiters for each customer
The whole point of VR is to take you into a new environment, a new world. Taking you to the bottom of the sea is all well and good, but don't expect us to perform fairly complex tasks requiring hand-eye coordination while effectively blind. I imagine all VR restaurants will need minders to help diners eat, perhaps with one of those curved bibs designed to catch all the food that misses your mouth, and with sealed beakers instead of glasses.
Gregory reveals a recent event at the Hard Rock Hotel in Ibiza, which used Gear VR and images projected onto the walls of the restaurant, required 21 staff to host just 12 diners.
Above: Operating a knife and fork while blind is undoubtedly tricky.
Anyway, Samsung and Gregory know best so let's go back to the press release:
"Now imagine that all of this occurred without leaving the Ibiza hotel, or the seat you were in. The magic you see, hear, taste, smell and feel comes from virtual reality technology. By using Samsung Gear VR, restaurants can take the already sensory experience of dining to a new level. While there is a wow factor to using this cutting-edge technology, the impact of virtual reality is a natural fit for restaurants that want to create a complete experience around a meal, not just serve a plate of food."
Sorry for the long quotes, but I feel it's important here to let Samsung and Gregory explain themselves. Like when someone says something ridiculous; you know it, and you bask in that glorious silence for a moment before they realise their mistake.
Despite covering your eyes and ears, Gregory insists: "It is important that the food remains the focal point, and that the effects used only enhance the overall dining experience." I'm not sure any dining experience can be enhanced by playful dolphins and being unable to pick up my wine glass or see my food.
Soup would be tricky and ribs would just be a mess. Makes for a great mental image though.