We didn’t plan it, but it seems that this week is “Mystery Gift Box” week on TechCrunch. First we had the Timeless Box, a tightly secured titanium box that can only be opened after a certain amount of time. Now, we have its spiritual brother: the GPS AdventureBox, a box that locks itself down until the recipient makes it to a specific place.
Built to power many a fuzzy-wuzzy lovey-dovey scavenger hunt, the idea is simple, but friggin’ adorable: take a wooden box. Strap an LCD display to the lid, along with a single button. Tuck a GPS-enabled Arduino board inside to act as the brain, and wire it up to a locking mechanism to keep the whole thing locked tight.
Once your recipient receives the box, the display on the lid will give them their first clue (something like “Go to where we first kissed”). When they go to that spot and push the button, they’ll get their second clue. Go to clue spot #2, get another clue — and so on. Once they eventually solve the final clue, the lock automatically flips open and the contents are revealed.
The route and its clues are programmed in by the gift giver themselves, by way of a super simple Google Maps-powered route planner. For each step in the hunt, you can set a location, the clue that’ll lead the way there, and a distance tolerance anywhere from 5 feet to 1000 miles.
You could have a scavenger hunt that leads your friend all across the city, eventually leading them to a concert hall — and inside the box? Bam! Tickets to the show! Giving your kid a car on their 16th birthday? Lead’em all around until they eventually end up back at their own home, their new ride parked in the driveway. Box pops open — BAM, it’s the keys.
The bad news: it’s a Kickstarter project, so it’s not actually available just yet. With that said, the campaign is just about to click past its goal at the time this post was written, so it’s looking pretty feasible. Given that it’s a relatively small run with fairly complicated components, this thing doesn’t come super cheap: an $80 pledge gets you a DIY box that you’ll need to solder yourself, while a $135 pledge gets you a pre-built box with delivery targeted for some time in February of 2014. Yeah, you’ll want to get that box back when the hunt is over.
Lets just hope that your scavenger hunt doesn’t lead you anywhere that might require a flight — this one could be pretty tough to explain to the TSA.