A passion DIY project by artist and technology tinkerer RA has brought a fully-fledged, portable Cyberdeck into the world. If you’ve read William Gibson’s Neuromancer novels or played the Shadowrun series of excellent tactical RPGs, you’ve used a cyberdeck to navigate and hack through the Matrix, a virtual-landscape-gone-real representation of the Internet. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t yet have a Matrix for you to hack into – but the Cyberdek RA01 looks towards nostalgia and pure science-fiction giddiness more than actual usability.
The Cyberdeck RA01 goes by the cyberpunk tenets in that it’s a completely self-contained, portable computer: there’s an ultra-wide 8.8-inch IPS screen with a 1,920 x 480 resolution, enabling users to explore the customized Raspbian OS (with custom startup sounds!) running on the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B inside (which automatically means HDMI, Ethernet and USB 3.0 support). A pair of 18650 batteries builds upon the Cyberdeck portability – but so does the transportation strap and handle for any serious Matrix runs as well.
The Cyberdeck’s parts sit within a Commodore C64C case which the creator repurposed; he added a Vortex 40% keyboard, a PS4 controller joystick serving as mouse input, a knob for volume control, speakers, and even the creation of a new typography font just for the extra style credits. RA says this project isn’t meant to be a productivity machine – it’s more of an exercise in originality and creative freedom. We’d say it achieved that. And if you want to know more about the project and even customize your own, RA has a guide for how the Cyberdeck RA01 was made. Time to get to work and play Shadowrun or the upcoming Gamedec.