Introduction: SKY CACHE: Mobile Aerial Geocache

This is my completely autonomous Mobile Aerial Geocache, or MAG. I'll show you how to make one, and participate in this project yourself.

I wanted to create a new kind of interactive cache that would have the ability to travel through the sky, and be tracked in real time with a small GPS device.

My goal is to give the community the ability to track, find, and relaunch this cache to keep it ever wandering

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS and can then share their experiences online. - http://www.geocaching.com/

I will be updating this Instructable in the near future as this project progresses, and invite all of you to follow along and participate. Please comment with your thoughts, ideas, and knowledge, and lets make this a collaboration!


Step 1: What You'll Need

-a brightly colored "pool noodle"
-a saw or knife
-a hole saw kit
-balloons
-a stash (not to be confused with Stache)
-a GPS device

Step 2: Make the Container

Cut off a length of noodle. This will be the body of your container.

Next, fit a hole saw bit into the noodle end.
Find the largest one that will fit inside without ruining the container.

Cut off another length of noodle, then cut that piece in half lengthwise.

With your hands, gently and slowly twist the saw into the noodle piece COUNTER-CLOCKWISE.
(otherwise the piece will be torn too roughly) Repeat with other half.

make sure your end pieces fit properly.

Step 3: Add Treasure and Test Lift

I tested lift with 3 helium filled balloons that I bought at Vons (Safeway). They can lift about 20.2 grams of weight. The stash and container weighs in at 14.8 grams. WE HAVE LIFTOFF!

Step 4: GPS Unit and Tracking

My GPS unit is still in route from china. I will update as soon as i get it in. I'm not very familiar with these type of trackers/locators, so if anyone has any useful info, please leave a comment below.

This is, in short, what the ebay description reads:

Real-time location tracking, track playback
Support SMS/ mobile client/computer/Google map and Location service platform tracking
GSM band: 850M/900M/1800/1900M
Standby time: 7 days
Note:
There is a 50~500meter error, which based on the existing GSM/GPRS network and GPS signal.
Generally the suburb area has a larger error than Urban.


That's a pretty big error range, but i'm gonna give it a shot anyways. I could always add the "Garmin Chirp" to help better locate the package, but maybe on a future launch.

I plan to package the GPS unit  together with the stash in a larger noodle. I'll probably need about 12 balloons all together.

I'm not sure how the live tracking works exactly, but I will update with more info as soon as I know.

Step 5: Launch and Participation

The Launch date should be within the next 2 weeks if my package arrives on time. STAY TUNED!

What I want to see happen:
-My goal is to give the community the ability to track, find, and relaunch this cache to keep it ever wandering

-I plan on posting the necessary information on different geocaching websites for others to track and locate the Sky Cache, but would like this Instructable to be the main hub of communication, at least for now.

-I would love to see others create their own Sky Caches, and link back to here, and create something organic and ever growing.


My Concerns:

-What happens if the GPS device loses power in mid flight?
  (how can I power the unit while in flight?)

-What happens if the cache lands in the ocean? (could I make a lightweight waterproof container?)
  (If I had an Epilog Zing 16 Laser, I'm sure I could make any number of amazing cases!)


Lets get a discussion started. Help me answer these questions as we wait for launch!

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Epilog Challenge V

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Epilog Challenge V

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