The Fallout series of video games is known for a lot of things, but it’s the design aesthetic of the nuclear wasteland, its inhabitants, and what’s left of the retro-futuristic past that has really captured the imagination of gamers. The Fallout universe is full of iconic items, like Nuka-Cola bottles, Vault Boy bobble heads, and the legendary Pip-Boy. Michał Słomkowski wanted to build a unique computer that looks like it belongs in the Fallout world, and what he came up with seems like it could actually survive a nuclear blast.
To make the computer look like something out of Fallout, Słomkowski chose to go with a very industrial, cobbled-together aesthetic. To accomplish that, he built an octagonal frame out of square steel tubing. All of the electronics inside are completely exposed, and two vintage VFDs (vacuum fluorescent displays) are used to display information. There is even a “magic eye” vacuum tube indicator to add icing to the irradiated cake.
Inside of the frame is a Orange Pi Zero single-board computer that controls the other components. Those include the main display board for driving the large 2x20 character dot-matrix VFD display, and a second board that drives the smaller 4-digit VFD display, 433MHz radio receiver, and two relays for auxiliary loads. Most interestingly, there is also a functional Geiger counter board. The background radiation readings from that are shown on the larger VFD display. That board also drives the magic eye indicator tube. This “Octoglow” computer probably isn’t particularly practical, but it certainly looks great!