Building replica props is a huge part of many fan communities. But those replicas are just that: props. Most of them aren’t actually capable in functioning in the same way as the fictional items they were inspired by. A replica light saber, for example, isn’t actually going to be cutting through solid steel or deflecting laser bolts. The cyberdeck community, on the other hand, builds devices that are very similar to the fictional cyberdecks described by William Gibson. That is certainly true of Facelesstech’s ultra-compact Cyberdesk ZBS.
William Gibson first described cyberdecks in his novel Neuromancer, which is the initial book in The Matrix trilogy. In that world, cyberdecks are portable computers built by “deckers” in order to hack into the matrix (no, not that matrix). That kind of technology was still just science fiction when Neuromancer was published in 1984, but most of it is readily available today. The only real exception is the ability to connect your brain directly to the cyberdeck in order to experience the matrix as virtual reality. A virtual reality headset can be used to replicate that experience today. The Cyberdeck ZBS doesn’t have a virtual reality headset, but it is essentially a true cyberdeck in every other way.
We feature a lot of cyberdeck builds here on Hackster, but the Cyberdeck ZBS stands out thanks to its small size and fantastic design. The entire case was custom designed and 3D-printed, and that includes the hinge that allows the 3.5” LCD screen to fold down over the screen. Behind the screen is a Raspberry Pi Zero W, which was repurposed from Facelesstech’s ZBS (Zero Boot System) project. The keyboard is self-contained and connects to the Raspberry Pi via Bluetooth. The orange cable on the side carries power from the 18650 battery cells behind the keyboard to the screen and Raspberry Pi. The final touch to the hardware was an orange lanyard that matches the power cable and the enclosure accents. Not only does this resemble a pocket cyberdeck, it is also entirely functional.