As you get older and experience more of the world around you, you realize there are more things you want to do with your time. Perhaps you already have a list of goals to accomplish, or maybe you are just starting to put together your bucket list. Either way, chances are you have a lot of things you want to do and less time, or the financial means, to get them all done.
Luckily, there is a way you can cross things off your bucket list that wonâ€™t cost an arm and a leg and wonâ€™t take up a lot of your time. Technology, specifically virtual reality, has made it possible to experience a variety of experiences and scenarios all from your own house. You can even do things you never thought possible such as perform in a rock concert, hike across the desert, or pitch for your favorite MLB team.
What Is a Bucket List?
First things first, if you have never heard of a bucket list, this might all seem confusing. Your bucket list is a list of things that you want to do before you die. It can include any-thing you want, but often it has big goals such as go on a cross-country hike or see the pyramids.
Itâ€™s a little harder to find the origin of the term bucket list. It has been around for a long time, but it certainly gained popularity with the 2007 movie The Bucket List with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. There are a few theories on the actual beginning of the term.
Some people believe it dates to a Middle Age execution technique that involved the condemned to stand on a bucket with a noose around their neck. The bucket was then kicked out from under them, and they hung to death.
Others think it has to do with a Catholic tradition of placing a bucket of holy water at the feet of the deceased and having family members sprinkle the body with the water as they pay their last visit. The final theory involves a childrenâ€™s game that had players set up random buckets and then kick a ball through the set up without hitting the bucket. If you hit the bucket, you were out.
No matter where the term came from, a bucket list is something many people have, and even more are eager to cross things off their list.
What Is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality can encompass a variety of different technology, which weâ€™ll get to shortly. But in simple terms, it is best described as near-reality. Virtual Reality (VR) uses technology to engage your senses and make it feel like you are experiencing the scenario, even if you have never left your couch.
There are a few levels of immersion when it comes to VR as well as various techniques to experience something.
- Flat Displays – While this might not seem like virtual reality, large flat screen TVs serve as a form of VR. Screens that take up an entire wall can give you a small sense of being in a specific spot, even if you know you are mainly watching TV.
- Curved Displays – A curved screen is a step above a flat screen and allows you to get a more immersive experience. The more a screen wraps around you, the more you feel like youâ€™re there.
- Fully Immersive Caves – This option is one of the more immersive of the bunch. A fully immersive cave is essentially a room made entirely of TV screens. This allows you to step into an experience and feel like you are there. You can move around and interact with the environment.
- VR Headsets – This is another fully immersive option and one of the most popular. A headset fits over your eyes and then whatever experience or scenario is displayed right before your eyes as if you were there. When you move in real life, you also move in virtual reality. Headsets allow you to interact with the virtual environment completely, and it can feel like you are there.
What Is the Cost of Virtual Reality?
The cost of VR will depend on which option you choose and what experiences you want. A simple large flat screen display is going to be less expensive than a fully immersive headset. A VR headset, along with all the hardware that goes along with it is going to be your costliest option. Not only do you have to buy the headset, which could set you back $600 to $900, but you must also have the right software, computer, and programs to run the headset.
You might not have to purchase your own headset to explore the world of VR. There are plenty of VR tourism companies that allow you to get the full effect of VR without buying a set of your own.
What Is VR Like?
For many senior citizens, VR is a blessing because it allows them to experience things like they are there. This is especially true for older adults that might have limited mobility, cognitive issues, or just arenâ€™t well enough to get out and about. Once you put on a headset or step into a fully immersive cave, you are wherever you want to be. That might be the top of Mount Everest or walking down the Las Vegas strip.
If you thought you would never get to cross off every item on your bucket list, virtual reality presents the solution. You never have to leave your couch, and even if you donâ€™t have the budget to buy your own set, you can still find VR experiences near you that will get you closer to finishing your bucket list.