This is the type of news that always warms our hearts. An 85yr-old Australian lady, Ms Berenice Benson, spent a good portion of her life travelling to Europe and Africa, but was never able to make it all the way to New York, one of her lifelong dreams. She received the visit of an NYPD officer last January, which she thought would be the closest she’d ever get to the Big Apple.
On Thursday, Ms Benson was given the chance to tour New York via virtual reality from the Uniting Mirinjani aged care home where she lives. Ms Benson visited Times Square and Central Park, caught a subway, sailed past the Statue of Liberty, and got a helicopter ride over the city via the virtual reality headset, organized by Samsung.
The Statue of Liberty caught Ms Benson’s attention but she thought the whole experience was incredible. Through tears of joy, she said New York was incredible compared with other cities she has visited. “I can’t express what I’m feeling, it’s just magnificent… I can’t believe it exists, it’s here,” she said.
Graeme Brown, service manager for Uniting Mirinjani aged care, said watching Ms Benson visit New York was rewarding for everyone involved. “It’s made such a difference to Berenice’s life… it’s such a wonderful experience for her,” he said. “I don’t think I can top this one but I’m going to keep on trying,” Jo Sumner, coordinator of leisure and wellness at Mirinjani centre, said.
Samsung’s Martin Brown said the firm was testing virtual reality for patients in hospitals for opioid addiction and chemotherapy pain. “It’s all about providing this meaningful innovation, so allowing our customers to [have] experiences that they may not typically be able to do,” he said.