The Mini-Deck Is a Small, Folding Cyberdeck Based on the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W

With its Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, miniature keyboard, and built-in display, this fun cyberdeck features an array of interesting abilities.

An overview

The cyberdeck genre is all about creating highly portable computing devices that can easily fit along someone's arm or in their hands. Oftentimes, they are made from a single board computer that is able to run a full desktop operating system and has had additional components attached for useful functionality. Smeef has built his own version, called the Mini-Deck, which not only presents the user with a handy computing interface, but also includes several unusual parts that are almost fully modular.

The main components

As mentioned before, cyberdecks rely on single board computers, so Smeef decided to use a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W due to its capable processor, small size, and low power consumption for battery-powered applications. Users are able to input keystrokes via the DreamGear MiniKey miniature QWERTY keyboard at the front. Rather than a mouse or trackpad, this cyberdeck utilizes a custom circuit based on the Arduino Pro Micro, a 2-axis joystick, and 2 pushbuttons for left and right clicks. A further 7 buttons located at the top-right corner are routed to the Pi's GPIO pins and can be programmed to output any desired command or key. Finally, an Adafruit Mini PiTFT 1.3" Display was connected to the SPI bus for outputting the desktop view within Raspberry Pi OS.

Designing the chassis

In order to maintain a somewhat compact size, the Mini-Deck has the ability to fold in half thanks to its hinge, which also contains an 18650 LiPo battery cell. When folded, the top half presents the user with only the display and the 7-button pad next to it, although the mouse-emulating joystick assembly can also be added. Unfolding the handheld brings out the alphanumeric keyboard.

Sensors

Rather than simply being a more compact laptop, the device houses several useful sensors/modules. Probably the most interesting of these is the Adafruit BME688 atmospheric sensor, which can gather readings for the current temperature, humidity, pressure, and CO2/VOCs. These values can then be shown at a quick glance on an optional 128x64 OLED near the top of the unit. The right side houses an Adafruit Zero Spy Camera that is always being read by the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, which in turn, makes the video stream available over HTTP. Lastly, accurate time can be kept between power-on cycles due to an Adafruit DS3231 real-time clock module.

Connectivity

A mobile computer such as this one would be significantly hampered without the ability to access or control external devices. The Mini-Deck addresses this problem by providing a built-in USB hub, which exposes three USB ports for connecting dongles, audio outputs/inputs, or even a software defined radio. And thanks to the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W's onboard WiFi module, it can act as both a WiFi access point and client simultaneously in addition to having Bluetooth 4.2/LE capabilities. More information about the Mini-Deck can be found here on Hackaday.io.

Arduino “having11” Guy
20 year-old IoT and embedded systems enthusiast. Also produce content for Hackster.io and love working on projects and sharing knowledge.
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