I'm trying to stay motivated to keep working on this project. It's something I can actually use, and it would appeal to me to make it look like Cereal's beeper. Breaking the project down to some broad steps:
1. Decide scope -- what will the controller specifically DO? For instance, will it have infrared to control legacy electronics? But it will also need to interface with wifi-controlled smart home equipment.
2. Prototype with generic hardware -- use an UNO or something like that and just get a handle on the basic components. I don't want to buy the final hardware until I'm sure.
3. Write the software. Get the generic setup to work.
4. Decide on an enclosure. This one is going to be tough. I imagine I'll be 3D printing, though it's possible I could find a cheap pager at a store and repurpose the case. However, I can't move forward with the hardware until I decide.
5. Design the hardware to fit inside the beeper's dimensions. Buy the actual components and assemble them. I think there's likely to be a PCB involved, specifically to hold the buttons, but maybe everything would attach it to it.
6. If not putting it in a beeper shell, I need to design(!) and print the case specifically for the component stack to make it perfect.
This is kind of a lot but it feels good to get started writing it down!