Load Your Icebreakers, The 2022 Cyberdeck Contest Starts Now

TL;DR: Enter the 2022 Cyberdeck Contest, starting right now!

When William Gibson first described the “cyberspace deck” used by the protagonists in Burning Chrome and Neuromancer, he offered only a few concrete details: they allow the user to explore cyberspace, are generally portable, and more adept owners often modify them to fit their particular needs. Anything else was left to the individual’s imagination, due in no small part to the fact that he author himself didn’t exactly know what the things would look like at the time. Still, not bad for a guy who was hammering it all out on a typewriter at the time.

Build your deck like Gibson is watching, because he is.

Now 40 years later, fact has caught up with fiction. The hacker and maker community have embraced the cyberdeck idea in a big way, and we’ve been blown away by the incredible creativity that goes into these bespoke computing devices.

Which is why we’re happy to announce the first, but very likely not the last, 2022 Cyberdeck Contest. Impress the judges with your Sprawl-ready rig, and you could claim one of three $150 USD Digi-Key shopping sprees to help fund your next cyberpunk masterpiece. You’ve got until Sept. 30, 2022.

So what is a cyberdeck, exactly? That’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer, but since we’re running a contest here, we’ll have to give it a shot…

It needs to be a computer of some sort, certainly. It should also serve a practical purpose; as impressive as your cosplay prop might be, we’re really looking for functional devices here. Nominally that means it will have a keyboard and some kind of display, but  figuring out how it all connects and what form the components will take is where things get interesting.

Above all, it needs to be personal. What would your dream computer look like? What features would it have? There’s no right or wrong answer here — a good cyberdeck should be a reflection of the person who built it, and no two should ever be quite the same.

Need some inspiration? Not to worry, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve seen dozens of these custom machines over the last couple of years if you need some help to get moving in the right direction.

Hosaka R&D Department

In addition to the three winners, we’ll also be keeping an eye out for decks that best represent these special categories:

  • All-in-Wonder: Does your deck do more than just compute? Can it flash a microcontroller? Double as a logic analyzer? Serve as the brains of your synthesizer orchestra? We’re looking for cyberdecks that do what you need them to.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Cobbledeck: After the War, we had to make do with whatever bits of tech still remained. If your deck is put together out of remnants, or even if it just looks like it, this is the category for you.
  • Shiny: Or is your deck the polar opposite? Is it so refined that it’s indistinguishable from an Ono-Sendai 7? (It doesn’t have to literally shine to be shiny.)
  • Jacking In: In Neuromancer, decks immersed you entirely in cyberspace. Yeah, that’s a tall order outside of fiction, but we’ll celebrate your small victories! Is your deck more immersive than just the standard keyboard, monitor, mouse combo? Jack in, cowboy!

The Matrix is Waiting

Ready to make your cyberpunk dreams come true? Just start a new Hackaday.io page for your deck, tell us about it, and use the “Submit Project To” button to enter it into the Contest. We’re just as interested in learning about how your rig is built as we are in seeing the final product, so don’t be shy on the details.

22 thoughts on “Load Your Icebreakers, The 2022 Cyberdeck Contest Starts Now

  1. I’m looking forward to seeing entries.
    No glued on clockworks, please!
    (Unless it is functioning)
    And wearable cyberdecks along the lines of a Pip-Boy.

  2. Well, some clusters of neurons have been having an EntMoot, and got to..
    “We have come to a decision…. … … …. we have agreed that you’re not gonna do shiny.”

    Then inspired by the header art and Whoville serving practices thinking of a fold out array of smaller and smaller screens LOL.

    #1 (I hope you paid the license fee to ATi/AMD) the All in Wonder, I could make a highly overburdened mobile lab with enough appendages to give octopi wierd cyborg sex fantasies.

    #2 Natural category to compete in, repurposing random junk is just me.

    #4 Yeah, if I’ve got until September 2023… I’ve got some innnnnteresting ideas about input devices and display, but although I could knock something up, I don’t think I’d have the software handled in time, then a lot of it might require iteration, bouncing the ball from software to hardware’s court, until it comes right.

    1. #1 Should be safe. The WIPO database says all registered “All-in-Wonder” TMs are expired or cancelled. AMD didn’t even bother to update the owner data when they acquired ATI.

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