The NASA Simulator This Dad Built for His Kids Is Just the Best

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
July 31 2014 6:28 PM

The NASA Simulator This Dad Built for His Kids Is Just the Best

Dads are awesome, but this is just over the top amazing. The video below shows how Jeff Highsmith built a mission control desk and spaceship for his two sons. There are LED lights, real switches and inputs that trigger sound effects and flashing, and even a bass shaker in the floor so you can feel the rocket taking off. Come on.

Make: magazine describes how the different sequences of lights and sound effects are coordinated by Arduino boards and a Raspberry Pi, and Highsmith wired the whole thing so it’s adjustable and expandable in case he wants to add other features later. There’s even an iPhone mount in the spaceship that plays real NASA footage and could be used to extend the ship’s features in the future.

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Highsmith describes in the video how the sequences programmed into the desk and ship are meant to spark imaginative not competitive play, and he says he hopes the work he put into the setup will inspire his sons to be interested in building and programming one day. But it’s not just for them. Highsmith clearly had a great time putting it together, and he even built out part of the ship so he could get in it “for testing.” There is no one who wouldn’t want to play with this thing. I feel comfortable saying that definitively.

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Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.