Instructables
My children like to pretend like they are flying rockets and space ships and will turn anything around them into controls, buttons and communicators. It is hard on me, because they are very inconsistent. One minute the blue Lego is the turbo button the next minute the banana is the eject lever. I never know what the objects around me are going to set off. 

So to help with this terrible situation I decided to make something to assist with the imaginative process.

I used mostly parts on hand and scavenged so it only cost me a few bucks for some buttons, the joystick and the aluminum. If you had to buy everything I'm guessing the project would cost $30-40. There is a lot of room for expansion of features and improvements on the design, but here is a good first draft to work from. 

Features:
  • Joystick operated Acceleration Vector Resonator (patent pending) with audio feedback and vector indicator (beepy beeps and blinky lights)
  •  Launch Status Indicator with turny knob and more blinky lights
  • Com-Link packet messaging system (really it just records your voice and plays it back)
  • Heads Up Display for targeting and tracking popcorn meteors
There are cooler toys out there for the money (and time), but my kids know that I built this one. So it is a great way to have fun, teach your kids about trying new things, and show them that creativity and effort can have cool results. 
 
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justbennett (author) 6 months ago

For the next level...

http://makezine.com/video/making-fun-mission-contr...

Okay, it is actually skipping several levels.

jwenstrup6 months ago
this is great! my dad made something similar for me and my cousins when we we're kids, I'm going to make one for mine now!
Cyberscann546 months ago

I could see using something like this in model rocketry use some servos to aim the rocket add in a tablet or cell phone with gps and usb host ability or blue tooth use the joystick to aim the rocket and make some program to predict the path of the rocket using engine info weight and drag. IE simplified NASA on a small scale could also put a data logger and a camera in rocket. If you have a smart phone the additional cost would only be $20-30 for parts. and there are millions of help with making software for smart phones. cant wait to see the comments on this idea

Jonny1246 months ago
Cool definitely would have played with when I was a kid
kermit.t6 months ago
good build I like.