A portable computer built inside a rugged carrying case

2022 Cyberdeck Contest: The Black Beast Will Help You Survive A Robot Apocalypse

With AI systems getting smarter every day, one might wonder if they might someday evolve into a sentient Skynet-like system and try to take over the world. We’re not sure how close we are to such a situation, but we do know that if the robot apocalypse were to happen, we would want to stay close to [LordOfAllThings], who would likely be carrying the Black Beast. This scary-sounding machine is in essence a Raspberry Pi-based portable computer built inside an outdoor carrying case, with a wide range of unusual peripherals that make it the digital equivalent of a Swiss army knife. In other words, it’s a cyberdeck built for end times — and whatever comes after.

For example, an array of ESP32-based modules plus an SDR module allow you to intercept and analyze hostile robots’ communications, whether they’re using Bluetooth, WiFi, LoRaWAN, or anything in the 433 or 868 MHz ranges. An FM transmitter comes in handy for reaching out to fellow citizens who are trapped with nothing more than an analog radio receiver, while a suite of environmental sensors (including a Geiger counter) should help determine if Skynet has released any harmful substances to flush out those last few pesky humans. (Ed. note: No marigolds in the promised land and all that.)

If you manage to find a wired Ethernet connection somewhere, a built-in five-port gigabit router lets you set up a local network, obviously with a custom network analyzer to detect any unwanted intrusions. A storage compartment contains every kind of cable you could need, as well as useful gadgets like flashlights and, indeed, an actual Swiss army knife.

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Solar Fueled Emergency Power Pack

Heavy rainfall in Northern Europe last month caused disastrous flooding in several countries. [Daniel Jedecke] was on assignment in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany during the floods and saw the damage firsthand. He was struck by the lack of emergency power, and set about the task of designing a simple, portable power pack.

[Daniel] wanted his system to be as simple and maintenance-free as possible, and well as inexpensive. He passed by the traditional solutions such as gasoline fueled generators or advanced chemistry battery packs. Instead, he settled on the ordinary car battery — they’re easy to obtain in a pinch, and he found a used 45 Ah one sitting in his basement. To keep the system portable, he decided on a single 80 W monocrystalline solar panel which comes with a smart battery charge controller. An inverter provides standard (for Germany) 240 VAC in addition to the +12 VDC output.

The whole thing, except the panel, is installed in an off-the-shelf toolbox with the pieces secured to a custom-made wood frame. We think [Daniel]’s goals were met: made from standard materials, long-lasting without excessive maintenance, portable, and providing both DC and AC outputs for everyday use. Way back in 2015 we wrote about an emergency battery pack using rechargeable drill batteries. Do you keep an emergency power pack handy in case of outages or disasters?