Home |  Geocoins |  Nametags |  Pathtags |  Activation Codes  |  Log In

March 2019 - Cipher Sherpa

Add This Item To Your Cart Qty:

This item is password protected and available to members of The Geocoin Club only. If you are a member of The Geocoin Club, you will receive the month's password in club newsletter email.

Design By: Chris Mackey 

Dimensions 50mm Wide

Thickness4.0  6.0 mm

Finish Antique Bronze
Enameling Soft Enamel

Trackable? Yes

Has Icon Yes

March 2019 - Cipher Sherpa

Design notes from Chris:  

I've been fortunate to have worked on a number of coins that dealt with encoding/decoding messages and information in the pursuit of elusive geocaches.  The very first time, it was a simple ROT 13 style.  Before long it would be a coin so complex that it would be similar to 32bit encryption.  Each time, I've spent quite a bit of time considering how to allow people to make the process both easier and more complex.  Of course, this tends to cause a bit of a juxtaposition.  How to make it both easy to use and also make it complex enough that it could provide a real challenge.  Time and time again I would come back to the idea of a Caesar (offset) cypher and all the possibilities it provided. 

   Then, while sketching out the possible scenario for a new design it occurred to me that the idea of an offset cypher was to move a set number of letters.  Each version I had seen always move the letters in a positive direction up to a total of 25 (+0) positions.  A coin, though, is round so why couldn't an offset move in BOTH directions for a more diverse set of combinations?  A base coin, with an inset ring that rotates freely in both positive and negative directions would allow this.  The ring is overlayed by a shaped pathtag that holds the 3 pieces together.  The shaped tag fits into one of 26 positions (-12 to 0 to +13) in the inner ring.  By doing this we can make the entire ROT 1-13 PLUS an additional -1 through -12 which I have never seen done before.  ie:  ROT 1 means the A is a B, ROT 2 means the A is a C, etc. (And of course ROT13 is our regular go-to encoding.)  But with Negatives in ROT -1 then A=Z, ROT -2 then A=Y, ROT -3 then A=X, etc.   This is a whole new take on ROT decrypting because it's allows both positive and negative offsets.  It's still a simple set of 25 different variations (so very easy to utilize), but with the additional negative numbers we can add a whole new variable to providing clues to decode messages.      

   By having multiple moving pieces we can overcome a bunch of visual hurdles and more importantly, it's so simple to use that even young children can learn to use it quickly and efficiently.  Simply reset your PathTag key to the offset number of your choice and rotate it to the "up" position so the arrow points at the red A.  For example choose an offset of +8 and an "A" equals "V" or turn the other way to an offset of -8 and that same "A" equals an "F".  Even children as young as 8 - 10 years old are now being educated in both positive and negative integers so this can be both fun and educational.

    Letter cyphers have long been enjoyed in many aspects of life going back in history for centuries, but Grecco Roman influence seems to be when it really blossomed.  The ancient god Apollo, the sun god, was known as an illuminator or one who enlightens and delivers Truth.  He was the patron of invention and clever design so it seemed appropriate to celebrate his influence here as one seeks to find truth through confusion.  He was known to carry a golden bow and arrows that always hit their mark.  His symbols were a lyre, swan or python (which was news to me!).  I like the idea of a benevolent deity who presides over one who is lost in a riddle and seeks enlightenment.  Give it a spin and see just how creative you can become in setting a puzzle for seekers of truth and caches!

Mouse Over To Zoom
Use Links To View/Save Full Size Images

Add This Item To Your Cart Qty:

You Might Also Like: