Jammer Deck

Turning my 1995 image of Jammer's custom cyber deck from "Count Zero" into a physical thing.

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When I first read Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy in 1995, my career in aerospace had put me in front of everything from PDP-11/70s to Macintoshes. I imagined the cyber decks in the novels looking nothing like anything I'd seen. Rather, they were smooth plastic devices the size of a large skateboard, their surfaces marred only by trackpads, electrode jacks, a power port, and a red button to break the connection when you need to jack out NOW. A more careful rereading suggests that a typical deck includes a keyboard, but at the time I thought that was more of a metaphor.

The 2022 Hackaday cyberdeck contest has forced my hand. Let's see what I can do in a couple of weeks, eh?

An electrode interface seems a bit of a stretch, so I'll go with what I've got, and what I can get quickly. A lack of time pushes me to dig out a Raspberry Pi, and some scrap lumber.

Goal: the chassis will measure 60cm x 20cm x 10cm, the left and right ends shaped as half circles. The working surface will include a chording keypad (left or right side), LCD panel (center), and touch pad (opposing side), and a shutdown button. The top edge of the device will include power switches, reset buttons, mains power plug, and peripheral ports. The bottom edge of the device will remain unblemished. The interior of the device will include power supplies for the RPi, and the LCD panel and controller board, a battery for use away from mains power, and WiFi dongle.

Rev 1: the chassis size is determined by the two salvaged LCD panels I have available, both of which are 15" displays. No battery will be included. No WiFi dongle will be included. The lumber is 1/2", cut into two pieces and bolted together. These will be routed out as needed to make room for the other components. As such, the completed device will be much heavier and more unwieldy than desired, but as a prototype, it'll do.

  • 1 × Raspberry Pi Rev 3
  • 1 × LCD/HDMI controller board VS-TY2660H-V1 Provide a salvaged LCD panel with an HDMI interface.
  • 1 × AU Optronics LCD panel Model B154EW01 Salvaged from a dead laptop.
  • 2 × 5W power supplies To power the RPi and LCD controller board.
  • 6 × cs-keyswitch-01 Power Management ICs / Linear Voltage Regulators and LDOs

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  • Day 2: Keyswitch test prep

    cmholm09/27/2022 at 01:54 0 comments

    27/09/2022: Temporarily mounted LCD screen to the wood chassis. Added a ribbon cable to the RPi to break out the GPIO pins, so that I can test a single keyswitch.

  • Day 1: Day of the Saw

    cmholm09/27/2022 at 01:50 0 comments

    23/09/2022 Cut lumber in half, bolted halves together and cut to rough shape. Started notional placement of major components. Wow, this screen is big. I have a couple of significantly smaller LCD panels, but I'm not ready to sacrifice the old Dell netbook or the OLPC XO.

  • Day 0

    cmholm09/17/2022 at 01:13 0 comments

    16/09/2022: The LCD controller arrived in the mail. Assembled the RPi, LCD panel, controller, USB keyboard and mouse, and performed a smoke test. The RPi booted and the desktop appeared on the panel. Brought up a terminal emulator and ran a couple of commands.

    17/09/2022: Off to London to watch the funeral procession, brb!

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