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Oculus VR News | April 6, 2020

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Oculus Rift Helps Dying Woman Experience Outside World Again

Staff Writer

While the Oculus Rift has been known for its unique virtual gaming experience, it’s the future of virtual reality that is going to open doors to new possibilities, and experiences beyond just entertainment.

If you have not imagined the positive benefits and impact that this new technology will eventually have on the lives of others, then maybe this story reported by The Rift Arcade will help change your mind.

After being diagnosed with cancer and several months of radiation treatment, Roberta Firstenberg, was told she only had a few months to live. The hard battle with cancer had become difficult and made Roberta too weak to walk around, and experience life outdoors as she once had before.

Her granddaughter, Priscilla (“Pri”) – a video game artist, who realized the immersive possibilities the Oculus Rift could bring, took a chance by reaching out to the Oculus customer support team to express her grandmothers wish to experience the outside world again. The team quickly responded to her heartfelt note, and decided to send a Oculus Rift Dev Kit (DK1).

With the use of the Oculus Rift, Roberta was able to experience the feeling to walk and explore the beauty of outside world. Priscilla had loaded up a Tuscany Villa demo, that came complete with virtual trees, butterflies, and a two-story Tuscan villa overlooking a seaside cliff.

“I can’t believe it,” Roberta expressed as she recounts her immersive, and therapeutic experience using the Oculus Rift for the first time. Roberta goes on to say, “I mean, you hear about things that like that, and you think you’re all prepared for it, and it’s like dropping into a mirage…into a new life…it’s beautiful…it’s awe-inspiring.”

Roberta also experimented with trying Google Street View on the Oculus Rift, which coincidentally captured a photo of herself waving to the Street View car as it was driving by years ago.

Priscilla had her own plans to create a special VR experience for her grandmother, which would include a forest full of of butterflies, waterfalls, and fairies. Unfortunately, Roberta’s condition worsened shortly after, and she passed away four weeks later.

The future of virtual reality will not only entertain, but shed new hope in ways to inspire, and help people. The possibilities are almost limitless, and Roberta’s story is just the beginning of many.