The Young Explorers
© Randy Asplund
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    Of course there is a story behind this one. I was at my nephew's 3rd birthday party. My sister had 100 acres of land, much of it forested with trails for their big, noisy, off road 4-wheelers. Well, we were having a nice time at the pond when little Stefan got tired of the party. So he climbed onto his own miniature electric version of the 4-wheeler and drove off into the woods.

    Huh???? He's only THREE! But then it dawned on me that if he was used to doing this by his third birthday, then he must have been doing it as a two year old! Later, I was thinking about walking robotic technology and I remembered the incident. I realized that we are actually very close to having small walking vehicles that could completely enclose a small child to keep the child safe, and would be able to travel around within a programed perimeter with the child controling it via nothing more than a Play-School type interface. You would just program it with a GPS not to go anywhere that you didn't want. The child would have big colored buttons for left, right, forward and back which would get a little one anywhere in the yard with complete safety. Why not?

    Then I started adding things to make it more fun, like a play shovel, a hamer, a screw driver, and of course a flashing light and a high orange flag so his folks can find him in the tall grass. And what do our young explorers find out there in the great unknown? What wild imaginings and discoveries await?

Whatever they are, they seem to be made of fun!