Advancing The State Of Cyberdeck Technology

It’s somewhat rare to be able to witness the birth and subsequent evolution of a technology, at least on a short enough time scale to appreciate it, but right now we’re lucky enough to see it happening within the burgeoning community of cyberdeck builders. We’ve seen an absolute explosion of cyberdeck projects in the last year or so, but this latest entry from [Tinfoil_Haberdashery] truly pushes the state of the art forward. Short of actually transmitting your consciousness into the Matrix, we’re not sure how much closer you could get to William Gibson’s original vision.

The design is based around a split ergonomic keyboard, with an Intel NUC in the center and a 1920×1200 IPS panel on a tilting mount off to one side. Since the display started its life as a DSLR monitor it doesn’t have a touch panel, but those who’ve yet to master a mouse-free workflow will be happy to know there’s a touch pad built into the lid of the NUC. Thanks to a clever dovetail joint, the deck also separates in half if you want to put some more space between your hands, or just to make the whole thing slightly less intimidating while carrying it on your back through the Sprawl.

Power is provided by a custom 18650 battery pack running at 18 V that [Tinfoil_Haberdashery] (naturally) assembled with a homemade spot welder. He’s included both buck and boost converters so the cyberdeck can be powered with a wide array of voltages should he find himself in need of some juice in the field. To maximize battery life he’s also worked in a relay to cut power to the monitor when the NUC is sleeping, and there’s a physical master switch that can completely disconnect everything for long periods of inactivity.

The very first cyberdeck featured on Hackaday was built by [Tinfoil_Haberdashery], and we’re glad to see he’s not resting on his laurels. While that first deck was certainly impressive in its own right, this build takes inspiration from the incredible work we’ve seen from other hardware hackers and raises the bar on what’s possible from this dedicated community.

8 thoughts on “Advancing The State Of Cyberdeck Technology

  1. Really neat design. Those dovetails are an excellent idea. I think I’d have added trackball mice or one of those thinkpad tit mice that you could reach for comfortably while in typing position. For those annoying programs that require point and click sometimes but can usually be keyboard controlled.

    I’d also have used a lockable draw slide or telescopic tube type something to let the monitor be positioned more central as being so off center will not be the nicest to use. But that will add weight, complexity and probably some extra bulk too, so perhaps not worth it. Or maybe just make the monitor wifi/ vnc/ mirracast and removeable so it can be hung on that rusty sticking out bit of rebar for more comfort in use.

    1. Heya! A trackball was definitely my first choice, and is what I use as my primary cursor device, but designing around such a thing will likely be as much work as the rest of the case put together. I’m also a rather criminally poor programmer, and suspect that building a custom trackball would require microcontroller code beyond my current skill level.

      That’s not to say that such a thing isn’t very much a part of my future plans, though.

  2. “Even more portable when in half-mode. The other keyboard can be packed separately.”

    There is one of the two things i would offer a comment on. Maybe some sort of clip or attachment for the other keyboard on the back of the screen to make it all one unit when transporting? this is my major issue i see with most cyber decks is their portability and issues surrounding transportation, it seems as if most cyber decks require a case for any travel as they are not designed to be a contained unit as such. Exposed keys have a much probability of picking up dust and junk or just breaking off due to clumsy people.

    The second is the offset screen, I know that you will eventually get used to it but there is a reason that the majority of people put their keyboard directly in front of their primary working monitor. To have the keyboard centered ont he monitor puts it closer in your peripheral vision to your main area of focus and thus makes it more ergonomic to use.

    That being said, i tip my hat towards his efforts as it looks like there was a whole load of trade-offs that had to happen to make his idea come to fruition. I Love the ingenuity as well

    1. I’ve been contemplating how to attach the secondary keyboard for a “copact” transport mode, and very much like the idea of hooking it to the back of the monitor. Thanks!

      On the other hand, this deck is quite portable even when all hooked together. It hangs nicely over the shoulder on a strap, and the keys are sufficiently within the plane of their case that catching on thigs isn’t a big issue.

      As for the screen being offset, it’s not as much a problem as you might think, at least for me. Part of that is the fact that I’m fairly left-eye dominant, but it’s also worth pointing out that this isn’t a very big screen, and it doesn’t really exceed the boundaries a normal screen would; it’s more like looking at the lower-left corner of a centered monitor, rather than looking at a really off-center one. You don’t need to crane your neck in the least.

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