All posts by Aaron

Ronan’s Mission Control Desk – Introduction


Last February I came across an article on Make which highlighted a Mission Control Desk created by Jeff Highsmith. I loved the concept and thought it would be a fun project to build for my own child one day. Well, 10 months later my inquisitive son has arrived and is anxiously awaiting his new desk.

This blog series will chronicle the process of bringing this idea to life. At the time of writing this my son is only 6 weeks old so I can afford to be a bit ambitious. The idea is to create a simple space simulator which is controlled by the various knobs, switches, and buttons adorning the panel. The simulation will have a few “levels” which increase in complexity to grow with his understanding.

  • Level 1 – Rocket launch
  • Level 2 – Orbiting Satellite
  • Level 3 – Moon Landing
  • Level 4 – Mars Landing
  • Level 5 – Intercept Meteor
  • Free Play Mode


Since this will be an open source project I opted to develop the simulator in HTML5. Early performance testing indicated that it would be sufficient for what we need it for. The goal will be to be able to push code to the desk remotely to allow for optimizations, bug fixes, and new functionality.

In theory, the control board itself will be powered by Arduino. However, we are letting the software define the hardware requirements. Like all good ideas we will figure it out as we go along!

Up Next: Episode 1

In the first episode we will begin building the simulator in HTML5.

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Pirate Monkey

Anti-Gravity Gel

Simulating Grass Using Box2D

Someone asked if the FlexJoint introduced in a previous post could be used to simulate grass or other thin filaments.

Building off the existing framework, I will show an example of how it might be done.

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Simulating a Tree in Box2dWeb

Simulating a tree in Box2D is not as trivial as it sounds.

A tree will sway gently in the wind, spring back into shape after an impact, provide resistance, and break when enough force is applied.

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Designing Mom

When I set about launching Mom this past summer, I decided I really wanted to do something different with our company branding. Making products is a fun and creative process and our image should reflect that. And what better representative for the company than a motherly CEO? Getting her design just right was key.

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Box2Dweb Rope Joint

Box2Dweb is an excellent port of Box2D for Javascript. The only downside is that it’s based on 2.1. This means no rope joints!

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Cheap wireless communication for Arduino