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CyberPack VR

Portable VR wifi hacking lab

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Contains:

A fat battery
A windows 11 machine that serves a VR client enabling multiple private high resolution monitors
A kali linux raspberry pi running Alfa wifi with MediaTek 7612U chipset
A wifi pineapple
A wired network
Many wireless networks
Lots of antennae
Lots of fans
A quest 2
An ergonomic control terminal with a rawther long umbilical cord
Extra pockets for goodies

One thing that has consistently bothered me about cyberdecks is usability. I have typically viewed them as an art form; cool looking, minimally functional things.  I know there are exceptions to this of course.  I wanted to make something weird that was as functional as possible.  I wanted ergonomics, and I didn't want a tiny little screen.  I wanted to be able to use it while lounging comfortably on the couch, and I wanted it to have more capability than a laptop.  Also, I want to be able to upgrade parts or swap them out at will; I don't want everything soldered into a tight fitting case that can only accommodate the exact combination of parts that the project started with.

Stuff I had lying around unused:

  • raspberry pi 8gb with trashy little screen
  • oculus quest 2
  • external hdd
  • a bunch of camera rigging with a rad ergo keyboard
  • large portable battery
  • wifi dongle
  • tangled nest of wires
  • some case fans

I originally envisioned attaching all of this to a jacket, but found the idea of having to always wear the hardware encumbering especially in the southern heat of a Savannah summer.  Also every time I mocked it up, the process of putting it on and taking it off was comically awkward and clanky.  I remembered a nice backpack I used to commute with in The Days Before which had been collecting dust in the closet for over 2 years.  This could work!

Also I have developed a new interest: a deeper understanding of wifi, and control of my own home network even if my teenage kids become hackers.

How can I combine all of the above into a cyberdeck? After some research into a VR solution using an application called `Immersed` on the Quest 2, I found that a) it doesn't run on an rPi, and b) a windows PC runs the software a lot better than a linux machine so I decided to buy:

  • a small PC to host the Immersed client, from which I can ssh or rdp to the linux pi.
  • a tiny router to handle networking, both wired and wireless.  I tried doing it all using the onboard NICs and a crossover cable and stuff, but the router just added a ton of flexibility and ease of use so I bit the bullet and bought the thing.

I stuffed everything into the backpack in what I thought would be logical places, and cut some holes within the backpack to internalize some wiring.  Purchased some specific cables to improve wiring efficiency and some AC plugs that would actually fit in the backpack ... which still had to be whittled down a little to fit (that's safe right?).

Fun details:

  • terminal handle is from a wine opener
  • backpack damage is from crashing while commuting on a onewheel
  • battery is from commuting by onewheel; it would charge the onewheel 1.5x!

Here it is in full portable mode:

The quest 2 just about fits inside.  I have a very comfortable halo head strap that is also pretty bulky.  I could definitely find something collapsible that would fit inside the pack completely.  Thinkin' about it.

One neat detail: the pack was designed for cyclists, and has a feature on the back designed to secure a helmet to when not in use.  I designed a slot in the terminal that affixes to this feature for carrying.  It's a little sketchy since the terminal is heavy, but it works.  Here's a detail of that:

I did have a crash a couple years ago while wearing this bag in its previous life as just a bag.  This scraped a hole in the side pocket, but gives a nice war torn location for the onboard wifi 6 / gigabit ethernet router.  Also behind the router is a hole in the bag I cut to view the battery charge percentage:

I am not smart enough to design and build a battery pack with in built power supplies designed for each of these components, so I've just used the stock ones plugged into the AC ports of the giant battery in the bottom of the bag.  It gets warm in there, especially when I plug the battery in to charge it while running everything, including charging the quest 2...

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toggle-holder_countersunk.stl

This holds the toggle switches in place. I soldered little usb connectors to the switches so I can easily swap out whatever I want to power through the toggles.

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 152.82 kB - 09/14/2022 at 21:27

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umbilical-plugs_pack-side_01.stl

A mounting plate for the 2 usb and full size hdmi female connectors that the umbilical plugs into on the pack side.

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 283.68 kB - 09/09/2022 at 13:11

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antennae-holder_mirror.stl

Simple shape to follow the arc of the internal frame of the backpack, with some holes in it to screw antennae through. Or whatever else fits in the holes. LEDs, bolts etc.

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 166.88 kB - 09/05/2022 at 17:57

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cj-helmet-adapter.ai

laser cut from aluminum: braces terminal components and has hole specifically designed to accept helmet holder on backpack so terminal can be securely stored on the exterior of the pack.

postscript - 1.14 MB - 09/01/2022 at 14:36

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cj-handle.ai

laser cut from aluminum: screwed into core of terminal. Wooden handle screws into this.

postscript - 1.14 MB - 09/01/2022 at 14:36

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  • Goofy Photos

    Magic Robots09/22/2022 at 16:04 0 comments

    This part felt really awkward but was also kinda fun.

    And then some silly posed shots of what it looks like when carried or whatever.

    And finally just a thing I did in the terminal in the .zshrc for fun.

  • Cooling. Chill.

    Magic Robots09/15/2022 at 02:16 0 comments

    The larger interior power supply cooling fans inspired this design for the little twin 40mm fellas that help cool the pc in the mesh exterior pocket. Not sure how much I need to engineer a shape for these, I figure they can just kinda be propped against the edge of the computers exhaust. We'll see!

  • Toggle switches! I love them.

    Magic Robots09/13/2022 at 02:54 0 comments

    I decided to add switches using inline usb cables so I could change around what gets toggled power. I chose usb SS cables cause I figured they'd handle more power just in case. I didn't realize they had more than the typical 4 wire cable. Google was semi helpful, as it turns out there is a lot of inconsistency with the internals of a USB 3 cable. I used my rad usb testing thingie to discover that the braided cable shielding was where the ground was, which allowed me to successfully connect the toggle switch after two failed trials. Yay!

    Look! It clicks!

    So what I discovered yesterday when trying to install these things is that my attachment design was flawed, and the position in the pack where I want to install them is tricky. It kept falling apart, and then I broke one of the solder joints trying to jam it in there. So this morning I redesigned the patch panel a bit (adding counter sunk nuts to the OUTside) and will now attempt to resolder everything approximating the pictured configuration so I am able to actually plug stuff in here from the top.

    Counter sunk detail.This allows the whole shebang to be installed without the switches falling out, or without a crappier design I had printed out where everything was sandwiched together creating too much height and fragility.

    Installed!Not connected to anything yet, as I'm still working out some wiring but these will connect to (in order):Wifi Pineapple 5ghz Wifi Pineapple module ...something. I am thinking of the alfa wifi adapter but not positive. These feel and sound so great this is kind of a weird dream come true for me I love these things.

    This is a great example of how tough it is to get a nice smooth look when working with a soft fabric case. It's wavy and wrinkly and clearly I'm lacking a skill here, but I still really like the way it came out. CLICK

  • Adding pack side umbilical connectors.

    Magic Robots09/08/2022 at 23:33 0 comments

    Here's the inside connectors. Doing my best to prevent a tangled mess of spaghetti in here.

    From the outside it's nice and clean and industrial. Fun to see it all coming together.

  • Mounting the hak5 wifi pineapple mk7 in its "tactical case".

    Magic Robots09/08/2022 at 02:54 0 comments

    These webbing clip thingies I have are way too thick to fit the pineapple case. Will trim.

    I cut them. It was a giant mess. I hope the used portion doesn't unravel like a looney toones sweater.

    It is mounted nice and solid here now. Clean.

    Internally what you don't see are stupid oversized buckles and poor sewing technique.

  • Cable management begin!

    Magic Robots09/07/2022 at 21:29 0 comments

    Starting to clean up the wiring. This is the transfer area between hardware and power supplies. Also home of small wifi dongles.

    This is the home of the power supplies. Gets hot so need fans. Also the space where the oculus rests during transport.

  • Antennae time!

    Magic Robots09/05/2022 at 17:41 0 comments

    Simple design just holds everything together solidly against the fabric.

    Set on the right can accommodate up to 3; currently configured to hold 2 and a bolt in the empty spot to help hold it together.

    Setup on the left can accommodate 4, currently holding 2, a bolt in an empty spot and a little led indicator hooked up to a USB spot on the pc so I'll know when everything is on. Kinda hacky but that's ok for now.

    Left set is for the 5ghz pineapple add on. Right set is for alfa dongle attached to the pi.

  • Good news, and bad news

    Magic Robots09/01/2022 at 13:41 0 comments

    Let's start with the bad news: turns out the tiny PC I have has a short somewhere that has killed the hdmi and at least one of the usb ports.  I thought it might have been a CMOS thing, but that doesn't seem to be the case.  Crap.

    The good news is I think that means the umbilical I made utilizing the Russian aviation quick release connector may actually be functional.  So that's fun.

    This has made me reevaluate the heart of this project (the windows 10 box). Initially I was just looking for the smallest cheapest box I could find.  This was functional but when running the Immersed app, it was very laggy and unsatisfactory.  This was due to the fact that Immersed, as far as I understand it uses the gpu to send virtual screen renders over the wire to the Oculus. Apparently in order to be most productive in the virtual space I need a gpu better than the 256MB that comes onboard the celeron I had employed.

    Now I just gotta find an NVidia card with a PC built around it.

    /Intel NUC Enthusiast 11 enters the chat.

  • Finished the terminal and umbilical!

    Magic Robots08/31/2022 at 00:49 0 comments

    Terminal from the front.

    Underside details, the thing is so comfortable to hold and move around with the handle!

    All the bits

    Hold it like a shovel if you want

  • Putting together the terminal and umbilical!

    Magic Robots08/27/2022 at 02:35 0 comments

    Time to splice the hdmi cable for the umbilical. I've been dreading this and am super intimidated but here goes nothing.


    I'm terrible at this but it's coming together. The connector is dirty and I should have cleaned it. The joints are all terrible, but I guess we'll see what happens!


    Test number one is totally a success! Holy crap! While connecting it, I lost at least one joint but it must have been one that passes audio or something as the image came through clean. I'm going to try to clean up the joints tomorrow and add solder to them, and then continue to the USB portion of the umbilical which are only 4 wires each so hopefully no big deal. Famous last words.


    Pretty excited about this! Spent a couple days during off hours designing and printing test parts to create this plug holder for the terminal. It's now "done" and I can get to work completing the umbilical.

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