Oculus Rift helps dying woman experience the outside world virtually

Game artist Priscilla Firstenberg used an Oculus Rift dev kit to help her grandmother experience the outside world before passing away, The Rift Arcade reports.

Cancer patient Roberta Firstenberg had become too weak to enjoy her favorite pastimes or walk around her yard. At the time, Priscilla — who worked on stealth survivor game République at Camouflaj — had a discussion with her co-workers about next-gen systems. After their talk, she got the idea to contact Oculus VR and request a kit. Customer service lead Kevin Crawford responded to her shortly with kind words, telling her that the decision to send her a kit was unanimous.

"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," Crawford wrote. "Keeping with the spirit of these specific Rifts, it only makes sense that we loan a working developer Rift to another game dev."

Using the Rift's Tuscany demo — which allows users to explore a virtual villa — Roberta was able to marvel at virtual butterflies and tackle stairs with ease. A Street View demo allowed her to view an old photo of herself, snapped by a Google car years before.

Priscilla was working a special VR experience for her grandmother, which would include butterflies, waterfalls and a forest with fairies when Roberta's condition worsened. She passed away four weeks after her first use of the Rift.

The full story is available on The Rift Arcade, while a video of Firstenberg using the Rift can be seen below.


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