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Make 858
The creator of MacGyver challenges you to retrieve your keys from the bottom of a 15-foot crevice in the desert.
The Scenario:
Thinking you could use a new hobby to get you off the couch, your significant other gifts you with a metal detector for Christmas. After digging up loose change in your backyard and at the beach for a few weekends, you decide it’s time for a real prospecting adventure. So, after loading up your SUV with the metal detector, a pick, a shovel, pry bar, and enough snacks and water for the day, you both drive 80 miles out into the desert to poke around some abandoned gold mines you’ve heard about.

Finally reaching the end of the road in the middle of nowhere, you ask your partner to unload the car while you head for the rocks to survey the landscape. But as you climb through some old barbed-wire fencing to look for a trail, your keys – attached to your Swiss Army knife – fall out of your pocket and skitter off across the rocks before they disappear into a deep, six-inch-wide crevice between two boulders. (Don’t you just hate when that happens?) Needess to say, neither your cellphone nor your OnStar system gets reception out here, and the fancy anti-theft option you went for makes hot-wiring your SUV all but impossible.

The Challenge:
Without transportation, you’re stranded. To avoid the daunting prospect of walking back out to the main road – as well as “never hearing the end of this” from your mate – you’re going to need to recover those keys.

The boulders are too massive to be moved in any way and you don’t have a direct sight line to your keys. But you are able to ascertain that the depth of the narow crevice can’t be more than 15 feet. It’s about noon now, so you’ve got at least 6-7 hours of daylight to work with before it gets dark. Surely someone with your skills and ingenuity can get those suckers out of there in time to get you home safely, if not still salvage the outing, no? As the wheels start turning, your mate appears and asks, “Is something wrong, honey?”

Here’s what you’ve got:
In addition to everything mentioned, there’s a basic tool kit in the car: hammer, screwdriver, adjustable wrench, snippers, pliers, etc., as well as 100 feet of nylon rope. Because this is an old mining area, there may also be some small pieces of wood and metal lying around.

Send a detailed description of your MakeShift solution with sketches and/or photos to [email protected] by Aug. 17, 2007. If duplicate designs are submitted, the winner will be determined by the quality of the explanation and presentation. The most plausible and creative solutions will each win a MAKE sweatshirt. Think positive and include your shirt size and contact information with your description. For rules and solutions to previous MakeShift challenges, visit makezine.com/makeshift.

MakeShift – Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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