VR technology applied in Chinese funeral parlor to experience death
Virtual reality (VR) technology is being used in many ways, in the hope of taking people to another world. Now a funeral home in Beijing is using the same technology to let people experience death.
When technology meets "death," chemistry happens.
Putting on VR glasses, you watch yourself have a seizure at work. After medical treatment fails, you find yourself in heaven... with some Chinese characteristics.
"The VR technology can let people experience death through a first-person perspective. With visual and audio effects, people feel how their hearts gradually fail, they go to heaven, and see their own lives flash by before their very eyes," said Liao Hongning, an engineer at Babaoshan Funeral Parlor.
"The point of this is to make people have a more positive outlook on life and death."
VR tech in 'death simulator'
A "death simulator", named Xinglai, opened in Shanghai in 2016, giving people a VR experience of death.
Participants were given the opportunity to be virtually killed, cremated and then resurrected by birth through a latex womb.
The same concept was also used to let terminally ill patients experience how their body slowly loses sense of itself to reduce the fear of death.
"Later we will introduce more advanced technology. With the development of VR technology, visitors will see more interaction in the video," Liao added.
From traditional to modern
Nearly 70 percent of Beijing's deceased are cremated at the Babaoshan Funeral Parlor every year. With wreaths standing on both sides of the parlor, families gather to pay tribute to the dead, after which the dead bodies are stored in a refrigerator waiting to be cremated – this is the traditional Chinese funeral service.
Modern funeral services – in the Beijing Babaoshan Funeral Parlor – are adding a European touch, giving members of the bereaved family privacy, as well as emotional support from therapists on-site.