All posts in Invention

Ronan’s Mission Control Desk – Introduction

Inspiration

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

Technology

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.

Cheap wireless communication for Arduino

A person who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.

-Albert Einstein