Jeff Highsmith is from Make. His Mission Control Desk (a homework desk which, when you’ve finished learning your spellings and writing about what you did on your holidays, magically turns itself into an Apollo Mission Control station, complete with bleeps, bloops, and the ability to disastrously stir the oxygen tanks) is a project that got a lot of you very, very excited when we featured it. Jeff is King of the Maker Parents.
He’s not been idle since then - after all, he has two sons, and the younger one needed a project for his own bedroom to go alongside his brother’s envy-inspiring Mission Control Desk. This is what he ended up with. Please make sure you’re giving your jaw plenty of support before hitting play, so it doesn’t hit the floor when it falls open with amazement.
Jeff has a good understanding of what gets kids’ imaginations going – this isn’t a game to win, but a prop for encouraging imaginative play. There are 38 switches, knobs, potentiometers and buttons to flick and poke, many of which trigger sequences of events. There’s video from the real Apollo missions. There’s a removable panel with pipes and screws behind it to tinker with. There’s a tactile transducer (a big bass amp that makes the whole spaceship shake and rumble) to simulate takeoff. There is a robot arm in the payload bay. And there’s lots of audio – a Raspberry Pi is in there to deal with logic and sounds.
We love it, despite the fact that it makes us feel highly inadequate. There is good reason for the top comment under this video on YouTube at the moment being “Please adopt me, even though I am 44.”
You can see more of Jeff’s projects at Make. Thanks Jeff, thanks Make, and thanks kids – depwoy the paywoad!