The Hosaka MK I Is the Most Sprawl-Accurate Cyberdeck We’ve Seen

Chris did everything he could to make the Hosaka MK I cyberdeck as Sprawl-accurate as possible.

The entire cyberdeck community can trace its origins back to William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy, beginning with the iconic Neuromancer cyberpunk novel. In the Sprawl books, “deckers” use “cyberdecks” to jack into a virtual reality network called the “matrix.” Gibson described the cyberdeck as having technology that doesn’t yet exist, but they are basically advanced portable computers. And because we’re talking about cyberpunk, cyberdeck aesthetic is more Weyland-Yutani than Apple. Most people in the community take design liberties to express their creativity, but Chris did everything he could to make the Hosaka MK I cyberdeck as Sprawl-accurate as possible.

A major narrative point in the Sprawl trilogy is that deckers build their own cyberdecks by cobbling together components from other devices. Instead of sleek consumer products, these are clearly hacked together. And because the Sprawl trilogy came out of the 1980s, we imagine cyberdecks as carrying the blocky design style of the era. The Hosaka MK I “Sprawl Edition” nails those elements. It looks like it came straight out of the Sprawl universe or a kind of alternate ‘80s with more advanced technology. If a layman saw the Hosaka MK I in a pile of other devices at a garage sale, they would assume that Sony or Panasonic manufactured it sometime around 1985.

Like most of the cyberdeck projects we see, the Hosaka MK I was built around a Raspberry Pi single-board computer (SBC). Chris doesn’t specify the exact model, but it seems to be one of the full-size “B” models. The screen is a 7” touchscreen LCD panel. Power comes from a LiPo battery via an Adafruit PowerBoost 1000. An ESP32 development board controls the RGB LED case lighting and its USB port is external so Chris can reprogram it with the Raspberry Pi. A Noctua fan keeps things cool and audio pumps out through a small Class D amplifier board. A dual micro SD card adapter lets the user switch between boot cards. Chris also included an FM radio transmitter module, but we aren’t sure what its purpose is.

Those components are all pretty typical for a cyberdeck build and it is the design that makes this project stand out. Chris did all the 3D modeling in FreeCAD and then printed the parts on a Prusa i3 MK3S 3D printer. Layer-based filament swaps give those parts their secondary colors. Magnets mounted to the side of the Hosaka MK I let the user attach expansion modules, so Chris can expand the capability later.

Cameron Coward
Writer for Hackster News. Maker, retrocomputing and 3D printing enthusiast, author of books, dog dad, motorcyclist, and nature lover.
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