VirtuScope Cyberdeck Straight Out of a William Gibson Novel

While cyberpunk novels written by William Gibson in the 1980s envisioned a world with rather substantial cyberdecks for accessing the Internet — something akin to a very beefy notebook computer with all kinds of enhanced features — it seems we’ve instead opted for very small supercomputers that we refer to as ‘smartphones.’ Though phones, tablets, and even ‘traditional’ notebook computers are incredible achievements, a device with a chunky dark frame, full-sized mechanical keyboard, and customizable hardware still appeals to many, including ‘bootdsc.’

Bootdsc built his own ’deck, with a 3D-printed case available on Thingiverse, and a Raspberry Pi 4 (4GB version) to provide computing power. The display is a 7” LCD with an HDMI driver board, and as shown in the short clip below, it opens with a pair of hinges and has a nice space for one to insert an SD card. According to the project write-up, it’s “the ultimate call back to my very first circuit board kit, a FM transmitter that I built at age 7 and now here I am with a portable computer capable of receiving every radio frequency from 300Hz to 1.7Ghz thanks to a Nooelec SDR and Ham It Up Converter.”

So far, the documentation focuses on the physical build of the device. If you want to create your own, however, producing the 3D-printed parts should keep you busy for some time, and upcoming posts will cover the electronics and software.

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Author: Jeremy S. Cook

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