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Terminally Ill Woman Uses Oculus Rift For One Last Stroll

By - Source: The Rift Arcade | B 16 comments

Priscilla Firstenberg, a 2D and 3D video game artist, moved in with her grandmother, Roberta Firstenberg, to help take care of her. Roberta had just discovered that radiation therapy and chemotherapy were no longer working, and that she only had months to live. Her favorite activity – going outside and working in the garden – was no longer a possibility.

One day when "Pri" was debating with a co-worker about the benefits of Oculus Rift over the new consoles, she decided to contact Oculus VR's support center about obtaining a kit. She spilled the story about her grandmother, a story that went around the entire Support group. Everyone, it seems, wanted to help.

"Unfortunately, we can't send you out a brand new unit as we're still trying to fulfill our backlog queue of existing orders, but, we have just received a few developer loaner samples back in the office," the reply said. "Keeping with the spirit of these specific Rifts, it only makes sense that we loan a working developer Rift to another game dev."

The team jumped on the Internet and saw Pri's website and her artwork. They could see how passionate she was about her work, and read about how passionate she was about her grandmother. There was no way they could turn that passion away. Thus, she received a loaner; the first development kit.

The Rift was on her grandmother's head the night it arrived, playing the Tuscany demo. Roberta's favorite part? Being able to walk up and down on stairs again. "I guess we take a lot of things for granted," Pri told The Rift Arcade.

Later on, Roberta tried the Rift version of Google Street View. "I had told my grandma about it and she told me that once she had seen the Google car driving down the street while she was gardening, so she had waved to it," Pri said. "The next day I went to work and decided to check it out, and for kicks, put in my grandmother's address. I was pretty shocked to see that there was my grandmother, with her little dog, waving at the camera."

Tears came when Roberta noticed how healthy she looked, and how young her dog appeared. After that, she never went back "outside." Meanwhile, her granddaughter collaborated with her artist and game developer friends to create an environment to explore. However, four days into the development, Roberta's cancer suddenly spread, leaving her weak and confused. The project was cancelled.

Roberta passed away just four weeks after the loaner Oculus Rift arrived. The story here is that the Oculus Rift will make a huge impact on our lives, whether we're gamers or not. Roberta was able to walk again, veteran pilots, sitting in assisted homes, can fly again. Anything, it seems, is possible.

"Roberta's story gives hope of something far more profound: of changing lives for the better," writes The Rift Arcade's Tom Rudderham. "We're only just beginning to discover new ways of using virtual reality to explore the world, to aid those suffering from illness and to better the lives of others — and we have far to go — but as Roberta, Pri, and the Oculus team have shown, there's much to be hopeful for."

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Well said.

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Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    realibrad , April 21, 2014 12:21 PM
    Dont F this up FB...
Other Comments
  • 18 Hide
    realibrad , April 21, 2014 12:21 PM
    Dont F this up FB...
  • 5 Hide
    timaahhh , April 21, 2014 1:01 PM
    Those feels....
  • -2 Hide
    BranFlake5 , April 21, 2014 1:30 PM
    Quote:
    Dont F this up FB...

    The last thing she saw was a Farmville notification...
  • 7 Hide
    universal remonster , April 21, 2014 5:07 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Dont F this up FB...

    The last thing she saw was a Farmville notification...


    douchebag....
  • 2 Hide
    Jacob McIntosh , April 21, 2014 8:01 PM
    This just restored some of my faith in humanity... :) 
  • 0 Hide
    stridervm , April 21, 2014 8:18 PM
    The Oculus Rift was sent by Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts and sponsored by the Sigmund Corp. ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    expl0itfinder , April 21, 2014 8:24 PM
    This device really does have so much more potential than to be the next big thing in gaming.
  • 0 Hide
    alithegreat , April 22, 2014 1:43 AM
    So instead of fighting medicine cartels, improving our way of life thus fighting the cause of cancer, we just want to fix the end result , hook up all old,sick and disabled into VR,keep them happy(!), keep our streets young and healthy....

    I really have doubts about this kind of implementations.
  • -1 Hide
    DrBackwater , April 22, 2014 3:55 AM
    This will be great for those who suffer, or on morphine. i mean those who seek to die a pain less death due to bureaucratic red tape can maybe someday use this.

    Or augmented reality where they can move in real world but see their loved ones in happier way,

    It sounds controversial and it is, but anythings better to ease the burden, because some people would rather enjoy their life at full strength and then decide when they wish to leave with their loved ones.

    Who knows the futures exploding rapidly with odd amounts of funding to company's these days.
  • 2 Hide
    Poul Wrist , April 22, 2014 5:18 AM
    Quote:
    So instead of fighting medicine cartels, improving our way of life thus fighting the cause of cancer, we just want to fix the end result , hook up all old,sick and disabled into VR,keep them happy(!), keep our streets young and healthy....

    I really have doubts about this kind of implementations.

    Yea, because that's what the article said. Clown.
  • 3 Hide
    alithegreat , April 22, 2014 5:50 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    So instead of fighting medicine cartels, improving our way of life thus fighting the cause of cancer, we just want to fix the end result , hook up all old,sick and disabled into VR,keep them happy(!), keep our streets young and healthy....

    I really have doubts about this kind of implementations.

    Yea, because that's what the article said. Clown.


    I know what artice said. For the last few weeks or months its all happy news about Oculus VR anyway.

    I wanted to express my feelings about it. Some people may always start thinking the good outcome, some not. I am concerned that this kind of treatment could go unchecked where people lock their grandparents into some VR clinics and not care about them.

    There are already people "raising" children by leaving them in front of TV;PC nearly all day long. It is a common mistreatment in my country.

    Call it highly-unlikely, anti-utopia maybe, but that was what i thought.
    I don't like being called "clown" by the way.
  • -1 Hide
    youssef 2010 , April 22, 2014 7:15 AM
    Incredible story. Can't wait for world wide availability.
  • 1 Hide
    Steveymoo , April 22, 2014 8:47 AM
    It makes me terminally ill that a company would use someone's illness as a publicity stunt.
  • 1 Hide
    integr8d616 , April 22, 2014 8:52 PM
    Steveymoo nails it.
  • 0 Hide
    Zombie615 , April 23, 2014 5:56 PM
    Yeah the last thing I want to see is the inside of some damn technological machine to remind me all the hard work I've put into society is going down the drain. When I'm on my death bed last thing I'm going to be thinking about is some video gaming device that will show me what I'm glad to be leaving behind. A world full of people who would rather sit on their ass an stair into a screen than to go out into nature an explore the world that has been given to us.
  • 0 Hide
    SonSon1 , April 24, 2014 8:56 AM
    "The story here is that the Oculus Rift will make a huge impact on our lives, whether we're gamers or not."

    Yeah, right, and we also should be happy they sold out to FB, right? right?
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