Web Trek (Temporary title)
The Concept The Pitch
An interesting idea occured to me very late one night (about 3.30am, as it happens).  At least, I found it interesting.  It might even be practical.

Suppose a young kid (girl or boy) puts together a solar powered flying model - it could be a helicopter or something more exotic.  The idea is that s/he wants to fly it across country - maybe even across the world - to visit other places and, using a bunch of onboard webcams, send back pictures of what it sees.

Rather than equip it with artificial intelligence I figured the kid could wake it up during its "day", fly it remotely for a distance - see how far it gets, what it sees - and then land it somewhere safe for its "night" (wherever it happens to be in terms of time zone) until s/he next has a chance to fly it.  That way s/he could fly around the globe - as long as the equipment holds out.

The remote connection could be done through a variety of mechanisms, maybe the Web (think of the Mars Lunar Rover that was controlled using the Internet) and a hack into a satellite (so s/he can transmit and receive over great distances).  A provisional name for the project is "Web Trek".

Maybe his/her Dad/Mom is some kind of scientist who gets time on a satellite link for radio control of something remote - perhaps a telescope or something - and the kid uses that for his/her own purposes.

That's the underlying mechanism for the story.

Overlaid on top of that could be adventures along the way - events witnessed, people helped, and so on.  It might even qualify as a TV series.

The kid can't draw too much attention to him/herself, because s/he's hacked a commercial or government system, so the interaction s/he has with anyone will have to be subtle or subdued.

A similar idea occurred to me a long time ago for amateur underwater exploration.  Create a waterproof model something (crab, maybe, or something less exotic like a sub), send it into the water off a beach somewhere, and see what it sees.  Powering it might be a problem, unless I can come up with a way to do it with seawater, and radio communication likewise might be a problem.  But there are batteries being developed for space exploration that will use seawater (for a possible mission to explore the deep oceans on Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter) so before long there may be a practical technology available for domestic use.

I'd even like to try it out for real (either or both) - whenever I get enough money to afford to do it!

The pitch is available on WriteSafe and here.

Last updated: June 26, 2002

Peter Brooks

© PC Consulting 2002