One of the best parts of playing a space sim like Elite: Dangerous is that you get to turn your desk into a futuristic cockpit.

But, in the middle of a fight, a full size keyboard and a HOTAS setup can make finding the right controls  a bit stressful.

That’s what prompted Thomas van den Heuvel to make his own “keyboard extension” using a custom housing and an Arduino. 

The finished project – a control cluster that sits above van den Heuvel’s keyboard – ties actions such as chaff, docking and shielding to a set of easily identifiable buttons. You can see some in progress shots, as well as the final setup, in the gallery below.

These kinds of  Arduino control extensions are fairly common and we’ve seen a few before, but this one is a bit different thanks to a guide that van den Heuvel published so you can make your own. The guide, which as wiring diagrams, code and a reference to Star Trek can be found on Instructables.

With alien life finally having been found in the game recently, you have more reason than ever to play Elite: Dangerous, especially if you have the time and money to spare to get set up like this.