It’s fun to follow all the cutting-edge technology and marvel at how it might change our lives someday, but virtual reality has already had a major impact on the final days of one dying grandmother.
Roberta Firstenberg spent much of her life tending her garden and walking outdoors, at least until she started finally losing her battle with cancer. After months of chemotherapy and treatments, she was too weak to make it outdoors, and told her granddaughter just how much she misses being able to walk outside in the sun.
Luckily for Roberta, her granddaughter Priscilla just happened to be a videogame developer, so she reached out to virtual reality tech firm Oculus Rift for a developers' kit for her grandmother to use. Thanks to a Tuscan villa demo, Roberta was able to wander the countryside and take a few final strolls in the sun.
Roberta spent the final weeks of her life able to wander outside again thanks to the VR module, and her granddaughter even incorporated Google Street View so she could see the world. Priscilla was actually working on a new demo locale with waterfalls and butterflies, but her grandmother passed away before it was complete.
With most of the focus on how we can use these new technologies to mow down virtual zombies or do 180 mph in the next Need for Speed, it’s nice to see the other side of the coin when it comes to the profound impact technology can truly have on a person’s life.