2022 Cyberdeck Contest: The Hosaka MK I Connects You To Cyberspace, Neuromancer Style

A retro-futuristic portable computer with a touch screen and a shoulder strap

It’s hard to pin down exactly what a cyberdeck is, as we’ve seen through the huge variety of designs submitted to our 2022 Cyberdeck Contest. The most basic requirement is that it is a type of portable computer, typically with a futuristic, cyberpunk-style design, but beyond that, anything goes. The original concept was introduced in William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer, where it refers to portable devices used to connect to cyberspace. The design of the ‘decks is not described in detail, but we do know that Case, the protagonist, uses a Hosaka computer which is supposedly “next year’s most expensive model”.

Inspired by Gibson’s novel, [Chris] designed and built the Hosaka MK I “Sprawl Edition” as he imagined it would have looked in the Sprawl universe. The result is an impressive piece of retro-futuristic hardware with lots of chunky tumbler switches, exposed metal screws, and even a shoulder strap. Processing power is supplied by a Raspberry Pi, with input and output happening through a 7″ touchscreen. There’s also an ESP32, which controls a set of RGB LEDs on the back as well as an FM radio module.

The Hosaka’s functionality can even be extended by adding modules to the side, which will snap into place thanks to a set of neodymium magnets integrated into the housing. The whole case is 3D printed, and a full set of .stl files is available for download, although [Chris] warns that the larger parts might be too big for some 3D printers: the whole thing barely fits inside his Prusa MK3s.

We’ve seen several cyberdeck creators that aimed to recreate Gibson’s vision: the XMT-19 Cutlass is one example, as is the massive NX-Yamato. If you’ve designed your own, be sure to submit it to this year’s contest.

17 thoughts on “2022 Cyberdeck Contest: The Hosaka MK I Connects You To Cyberspace, Neuromancer Style

  1. If only Cray made things that pretty these days. Beautiful machines inside, but rows of identical vinyl graphics covered fridges on the outside. Where are the wild shapes and colors? And yes, the trend ended long before the HPE acquisition.

    The XT5h cab is the last machine they made that didn’t look boring, and unfortunately it was a flop. Coincidentally it was the last machine they made with their own custom architecture, and not just another X86 or ARM cluster with fast networking.

  2. Even better than most this is a stunning, functional and likely to be enduring ‘cyberdeck’ with all the care put into its assemblies. I’d expect it to prove useful for years to come. Sure its bulky for its performance, but that is part of the charm!

    1. I like the exterior looks as well.
      To me it seems true to the genre, and not a bunch of parts slapped together like watch gears glued on a wooden/leather box.

  3. I have read NEUROMANCER 12 times (I know, it’s an obsession) and as an old-f*** who grew up in the ’80s, I consider it the flagship of the cyberpunk literature. Anything that comes from that universe, is always welcome no matter what. Ahhh…we miss this 1980s dystopian future (only both Blade Runner movies managed to keep it up). Keep up the good work Chris!

    1. Having just reread Neuromancer and starting to reread Count Zero, I’m not convinced that the future Gibson wrote was a dystopia for *everyone* so much as a more high stakes/high framerate professional environment for the folks at the cutting edge of industrial R&B/industrial espionage.

  4. Such a good Gibson quote to start the project with.
    Gratz on a very fine cyberdeck indeed. From the external look and visual heft to the modularity and expandability. Quite an inspiration.
    I have two at present – one in old army surplus cases and one in a Pelican. This one makes me feel it’s time to make one in my own case. Just need to persuade Mrs Cdilla that the Prusa Mini needs a big brother. Perhaps watching Jaws will provide a humorous segue into that discussion.

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