Dying woman's wish to go outside made possible with Oculus Rift

Oculus VR donates a development kit to make the wish come true.


The Oculus Rift headset, according to Palmer Luckey, is going to change the world. It's already done that for one woman. Diagnosed with cancer and too weak for extended mobility, Roberta Firstenberg told her granddaughter Priscilla than she wanted to go outside, even if that meant only walking around her front yard.

Priscilla, a Seattle-based video game artist, sent a note to Oculus last year asking if they could help her, reports Rift Arcade. The Oculus VR support team unanimously agreed that they wanted to help out, and so they dispatched a development kit to Priscilla as soon as they could.

Firstenberg originally tried out demos Eden River, Ocean Rift, and Rewind London Experience and described using the virtual reality headset as "like a therapy" for her. She also grew to enjoy the Google Street View VR demo, but her granddaughter wanted to do more.

So she hatched a plan to assemble some friends and colleagues to create a demo filled with the things Firstenberg enjoyed the most--butterflies, waterfalls, and a forest with fairies. However, Firstenberg's cancer began to spread and she became too weak to continue to use Oculus Rift.

Firstenberg died four weeks after trying Oculus Rift for the first time.

The possibilities for VR in gaming are obvious, but Luckey and the rest of Oculus VR--now owned by social networking giant Facebook--contend that VR will disrupt and impact numerous other industries like film and live events. As Firstenberg's account tells us, VR is also capable of providing end-of-life therapy. Who knows what other applications we'll see next.

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