When I was 18 and my little brother, Andrew, was 5, I made a little control panel to keep him amused. This was in 1975, so the technology available to me was somewhat limited. All I had was a sheet of pressed board on to which I mounted a bunch of switches wired to little incandescent 6V bulbs mounted behind colored plastic domes.
I also had a small 1/4-inch reel-to-reel tape recorder. I used this to record things like a countdown along the lines of "Here we go on a mission to the moon… Commander Andrew James Maxfield is the pilot in charge… all systems are go… the countdown commences… 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, liftoff." This was followed by lots of rocket-sounding noises.
Andrew and I would sit under our parents' dining table draped with a large bedsheet (the table was draped, not me and Andrew), and we would play with this thing for hours. It's amazing to think back to a time when simply flicking a switch and seeing a colored light turn on was such an interesting experience.
The reason I'm waffling on about this is that I just saw the most incredible video on YouTube:
I cannot imagine how long it took this guy to build this project for his son. What I do know is that, if Andrew and I had access to something like this back in 1975, we'd still be playing with it now. What do you think? Are you tempted to build something like this for one of your siblings, or perhaps for a niece or nephew?
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting