Bedroom Apollo mission

Jeff Highsmith is from Make. His Mission Control Desk (a homework desk which, when you’ve finished learning your spellings and writing about what you did on your holidays, magically turns itself into an Apollo Mission Control station, complete with bleeps, bloops, and the ability to disastrously stir the oxygen tanks) is a project that got a lot of you very, very excited when we featured it. Jeff is King of the Maker Parents.

He’s not been idle since then – after all, he has two sons, and the younger one needed a project for his own bedroom to go alongside his brother’s envy-inspiring Mission Control Desk. This is what he ended up with. Please make sure you’re giving your jaw plenty of support before hitting play, so it doesn’t hit the floor when it falls open with amazement.

Jeff has a good understanding of what gets kids’ imaginations going – this isn’t a game to win, but a prop for encouraging imaginative play. There are 38 switches, knobs, potentiometers and buttons to flick and poke, many of which trigger sequences of events. There’s video from the real Apollo missions. There’s a removable panel with pipes and screws behind it to tinker with. There’s a tactile transducer (a big bass amp that makes the whole spaceship shake and rumble) to simulate takeoff. There is a robot arm in the payload bay. And there’s lots of audio – a Raspberry Pi is in there to deal with logic and sounds.

We love it, despite the fact that it makes us feel highly inadequate. There is good reason for the top comment under this video on YouTube at the moment being “Please adopt me, even though I am 44.”

You can see more of Jeff’s projects at Make. Thanks Jeff, thanks Make, and thanks kids – depwoy the paywoad!



Mark Daniels avatar

NASA should give this guy a job, designing simulators . . .
How long before Toys R Us stock these?

James Hughes avatar

That is clearly awesome.

And it appears I an officially a hopeless father.

AndyD avatar

Couldn’t have said it better. Ditto.

MJ avatar

Awesome Dad is awsome!

a_bet avatar

This is incredible! Well done!!!

Sameera avatar

You have done a wonderful job.

straker11 avatar


monkeymademe avatar

I nearly cried when I saw this. When I was a kid I wanted this exact thing! A wish totally ignored! Those kids dont know how lucky they are!!!

Donald avatar

mega !!!!!

HBE avatar

Payload bay!!!! Robot Arm!!! Thrusters that light up …. OMG this is so awesome!

Steven Staton avatar

Watching this, tears literally welled up in my eyes. This is the kind of play-set that as an adolescent, I would have never left alone, day in or out. Jeff has earned a place in the Pantheon of Makers for building the ultimate Nerd Toy and adding historical flourishes that make it insanely realistic. There should be a Day in his honor. A thousands kudos for going the extra kilometer for your kids, Jeff!

AndrewS avatar

Wow, awesome.

Does self-confessed Space Cadet Eben want to be adopted by Jeff too? ;-)

zatenzu avatar

Wanna be my dad?

Karthik avatar

This is really cool stuff.. Appreciate the amount of energy planning you have put to “Make” it

Ben avatar

I’ll hope my daughter will never see it !
I’m feeling like a terrible and untalented dad.

Your work is outstading,
Thumbs up for Jeff :)

simon avatar

I have driven 1970s British Army tank/APC simulators, and they are much like in this toy.

We look through our periscopes at a CCTV monitor. A camera on an xy gantry “drives” over a plaster model. Model railway lichen bushes.

Great fun chasing spiders.

I suppose you could now CGI the whole world and see that through your screen, but takes lots of programming + hardware to get it looking real.

But with plaster + RPi camera you can drive round the Clangers’ moon. You can even use the robot arm to recover a marooned Babbage.

Bill Smith avatar

Jaw in dropped position.

AntonD avatar


My jaw was also in the drop-down-position.

Werewolfc avatar

This guy never stops to amaze me!Great job!a

sirila avatar

Awesome. kudos to u Jeff

Jim Burke avatar

Fantastic. Words cannot describe how brilliant this is, the wonderful joyous laughter of your son coming from him flicking a switch says it all.

Well done Jeff

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