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

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.

Advertisement

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.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Video

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

Subtle cues from FedEx, Amazon, and others.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

A No-Brainer Approach to Fighting Poverty: Better Birth Control

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 16 2014 11:56 AM Iran and the U.S. Are Allies Against ISIS but Aren’t Ready to Admit It Yet
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 12:22 PM Poverty Rate Falls for First Time Since 2006, Remains Way Too High
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 12:30 PM How Steven Moffat Made the Best Doctor Who Episode in Years
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 12:33 PM Slate Exclusive: Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.