Every great story deserves an equally great ending. In that vein, I was thrilled to read that Mikal Hart’s wedding present to his college friend has finally been opened. The story lasted a year, and involved the first instance I have encountered of reverse geocaching. Put simply, Mikal turned the notion of geocaching — in which you go to a certain position on Earth to find a prize — on its head. He gave his friends the prize first, but in the form of a box that could only be opened in one particular place on Earth.
I especially love the mystery of the box’s presentation. Upon powering on, and after finding a signal, the box’s LCD readout displays:
This is attempt 2 of 50.
Turns out that the box led the owners to a secluded island off Bretagne, where they visited just a couple weeks ago. It opened easily as soon as they stepped foot on the island. Little did they know that practically the whole Internet, including folks at the World MakerFaire, had been following the story for over a year.
You can read the conclusion of the saga at Mikhal’s blog. But go first to his opening post to learn more about how he designed and implemented this great idea. Be sure to scroll down and learn about the nicely created electronic back door he put in place that saved him only hours before presenting his gift.
So how could this be used for education? Geocaching is a useful and fun idea that already has many proponents. Getting students to explore the natural world is equally fascinating with a device like this. A set of nesting boxes that make up a scavenger hunt? Boxes that only open when certain probes measure certain levels at a specific location range? Go ahead and add your ideas in the comments.