Inspiration

I was inspired by memories of my elementary school's rocket club many years ago. I wanted to inspire the same enthusiasm in my kids for this STEM hobby.

I like the idea of using voice commands to build things. I think we have only scratched the surface in this area.

What it does

The skill allows the user to pick various characteristics of their virtual rocket and then launch it with a count down. As they launch more rockets, they achieve higher skill levels which unlock higher powered engines and new mini-features within the skill. The mini-features include rocket facts, the NAR safety code, and info on clubs and organizations. I.e. (NAR, Nasa, etc.).

How I built it

I used the v2 ASK-SDK for Node.js.

Challenges I ran into

After watching my kids use the app I found my initial attempt was far too wordy and they were quickly losing interest. Rewards had to come quickly or they would tune out. Kids older than mine might be a bit more tolerant to the academics.

I had some difficulty figuring out how to use some of the features of the ASK-SDK worked like addRenderTemplateDirective and withCanFulfillIntent. I eventually did get addRenderTemplateDirective working after a little digging in Github.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Getting kids to interact with the skill and excited about rocketry. I customized some of the messages based on their skill level and used persistence to DynamoDB to remember their level in future sessions. I used display templates for the first time and complete ad skill with more complex interactions that builds upon previous interactions.

What I learned

Persistence (DynamoDB), how to use addRenderTemplateDirective.

What's next for My Rocket Kit

I really would like to dynamically build/render an image/model of their rocket based on the options they chose instead of showing them a generic assembled rocket. I simply ran out of time. :(

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