[UPDATE 2015/08/29 - I've been testing out the oDroid XU3 and the Radxa Rock Pro with good results. While I really like the performance of both SBCs, this may end up being a RASPI project. oDroid keeps obsoleting their boards for newer models with different features and Radxa, though I love the hardware, doesn't appear to be maintaining their Linux kernel. (The stock kernel from Kernel.org works, but without HDMI.) So I'm pondering using the Raspberry Pi 2 and giving up a bit of CPU in exchange for a more stable platform.

After all, if users can't buy the same SBC and follow along, then this project is of little use. ;-) ]

This project consists of several components. First is the backpack which has power and a 4 to 8 core SoC with Bluetooth and Wifi. The general idea is that sometimes you might need a web server on your back. Optional add-on modules/set-ups for the hackpack will include-

  • SDR - HAM Disaster Response or RF Signal Tracking
  • NFC - Mobile ticket taking/tracking for outdoor venues/festivals.
  • ISP - To set up mobile wifi hotspots and providing services in remote or disaster area or provide LAN/WAN services to an entire team in the field
  • Journalist - or uploading photos to a news site as they are taken or providing live field web streams
  • Weather - Everybody cares about it, hardware to make a weather station anywhere
  • UAV - Ground Station Telemetry Hardware for flyers
  • Field Networking - Connect multiple hackpacks together using RF (802.11s or equivalent Ad Hoc mesh network)

The second part is the tool-kit for the rest of the hackpack. This consists of the items required to conduct hardware and software hacking in the field. Everything from hand-tools to FTDI adapters to solder will be addressed in this BOM. What I'm really going for here is a First Aid Kit for hemorrhaging electronics that NEED to be repaired in the field. Suggestions for needed items are welcome. Though please state your use-case for the tool so we avoid too much overlap.

The last part is a Bill of Materials for components that commonly fail and would be useful to have in field repairs. (One example could be - 'a selection of capacitors to replace DC blocking caps which have failed'.)

One thing that's important to understand is that I meant to leave most of the backpack itself free. My preliminary design goal is that under 800 cubic inches of space be needed for hackpack items. (As a point of reference the backpack I've selected, the High Sierra Swerve, has 2230 cubic inches of total space.) There should be enough empty space that it can serve as a standard day-pack for the user.