It's not just a planet, it's a test-bed.

The Digital Discovery Vehicle

--a mobile platform for digital exploration

Click here to view the proposed technology list for the DDV.

Concept: Two or more state-of-the-art Digital Discovery Vehicles (DDVs) journey across the U.S., visiting pre-selected cities and towns located within driving distance of state, national and regional parks. Local middle school students, working as remote, interconnected teams of Digital Explorers, employ the DDVs and their array of digital imaging and communications tools to simultaneously explore their local wilderness and their local communities. The DDVs serve as a mobile base stations for Urban標ilderness DEXpeditions in a wide variety of terrain and conditions. The DDVs extend the Internet-enabled learning adventures of the Digital Exploration Society and the Full Circle program of the Wildwoods Foundation to teachers and students in cities across North America. The vehicles also provides a showcase for current and next-generation mobile technologies.

Technology: The young Digital Explorers use the state-of-the-art electronics systems in the DDVs to create multimedia records of their explorations. They communicate via radio, cellular and wireless LAN. Using satellite technology, they share their discoveries with teachers, parents and students at remote locations via the World Wide Web. As they do, their words and images become part of the growing Digital Exploration Society network. The DDVs are outfitted with an integrated, state-of-the-art electronics system that includes more than 20 categories of automotive and mobile electronics. The DDVs feature a suite of imaging and computing tools, plus satellite, radio and local wireless communications. In the field, students utilize a range of handheld computing and scientific analysis tools to capture and share their experiences. The devices communicate directly with the DDVs, where data is uploaded to the Internet.

Education: Urban標ilderness DEXpeditions provide an innovative and inspirational approach to learning that lets students take charge of their own experience as they explore the relationship between the natural world and their own urban environments. Students become true pioneers of the emerging mobile lifestyle as they observe, record and share using technologies never before combined and integrated for urban and wilderness exploration. Prior to and during the Urban標ilderness DEXpeditions, teachers and students participate in the Full Circle Program, a communications and learning curriculum developed by The Wildwoods Foundation. The capability for remote Web publishing allows them to share and collaborate in real time. Web capabilities let students consult with content experts and research remote databases as they perform their field research. Of greatest importance, Urban標ilderness DEXpeditions send a message to students that learning is a lifelong adventure of exploration, discovery, communication and collaboration.

Environment: In the past, humans beings have our technology to manipulate and control our environment. Too often, these deployments have been destructive to the natural world and now the planet is in crisis. The Digital Age and the communications technologies it spawns offer us an unprecedented opportunity to reverse the damage and to reconnect with nature through the eyes, hearts and minds of the next generation. Urban標ilderness DEXpeditions give students and teachers an entirely new way to explore, study and learn about the natural world. The study and appreciation of nature teaches community; technology makes it possible.

Market Development: The high-tech DDVs travel year-round to trade shows, conferences, dealer meetings and other events where vendor/sponsors use them as a platform to demonstrate the current and future possibilities of integrated mobile electronics. The vehicles wear the logos of the Digital Exploration Society and vendor/sponsors as the DDV demonstration teams distribute product literature and collect requests for additional information during showcase events. By providing stimulating and creative technology applications, the DDVs will dramatically increase awareness of mobile digital technologies and demonstrate, in practical terms, the uses and benefits of the new generation of wireless communications, computing, GPS and digital imaging technologies. While the focus of the Urban標ilderness DEXpeditions is on education and adventure, the DDVs also inspire young people with the possibilities of the emerging lifestyle trends in mobility and communications.

Fresh-air R&D: In addition to providing a unique testing ground for current generation technologies, the DDVs serve as testbeds for technologies and products that are still in the development stage. The DDVs provide an ongoing, real-world R&D lab operated by the next generation of users.

Publicity and Community Relations: The focus on regional environments, local students, teachers and innovative new digital tools provide an uncommonly rich opportunity for local and national publicity as well as for building positive brand affinity and strong community relations in large and small cities across the country. Prior to the arrival of the DDVs, local press are notified of the pending Urban標ilderness DEXpeditions in their area and invited to send reporters. For certain Urban標ilderness DEXpeditions, members of the national press and monthly periodicals are invited to attend. In each city, press coverage of the Urban標ilderness DEXpeditions is timed to break during the showcase event. Whenever possible, students who participated in the Urban標ilderness DEXpeditions are invited to appear as special guests at the showcase event.

Design and Construction: Design will be done by students from a well-known automotive and electronics design school. A custom vehicle fabrication company in Southern California that is responsible for many of the custom vehicles seen in movies and on television will build the interior and complete the paint and other details of the DDV. The interior design will include motorized, drop down panels for handheld equipment, ceiling mounted displays, patching bays and built-in charging stations for the battery operated equipment.

DDVFor more information contact:

Robert Lindstrom, DEXecutive director

Dwain Wilson, The Wildwoods Foundation

DEX - The Digital Exploration Society
The Wildwoods Foundation