The developer behind the open source CutiePi tablet is taking aim at the laptop space with a new DIY mini-laptop.

The Penkesu Computer is features a 7.9 inch widescreen display, a 48-key ortholinear mechanical keyboard and it uses a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W as its brains. You can’t buy one yet, but you can find everything you need to build your own at Penk’s GitHub page.

The parts list includes a 7.9 inch, 1280 x 400 pixel IPS LCD display with support for capacitive touch input), a 3D printed case (which uses Gameboy Advance SP replacement hinges to hold the lid and body together), a 3.7V Li-Po battery and power supply, and a custom keyboard that includes:

  • 48 x Kailh low profile Choc V1 switches
  • 48 x MBK Choc low profile keycaps
  • 48 x 1N4148 diodes
  • 1 x Arduino Pro Micro
  • 1 x custom printed circuit board

Penk provides the gerber file for the keyboard PCB and a QMK firmware file and there are assembly instructions at GitHub. But since everything is open source, you can modify the designs or use different parts that better meet your needs.

Powering the whole thing is Raspberry Pi’s $15 computer with a 1 GHz ARM quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor and 512MB of RAM. That means the little computer should support most operating systems and software compatible with running on Raspberry Pi devices matching those specs.

Penk says there are “no immediate plans on selling kits or making Penkesu Computer mass producible,” but that doesn’t rule out the possibility that you might be able to buy one at some point in the future rather than making your own.

via Tom’s Hardware

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  1. Ultra portable PCs are the perfect candidate for 40% keyboards and ortholinear so you’re making the most of the available space. I would love to see that in a commercial device.

  2. ok, how long this device work? a month?
    is possible turn off keys : wifi, BT, dowcrease memory sped, cpu etc?

    1. “ok, how long this device work? a month?”
      No. Exactly how long will depend on your battery and the hardware you have turned on, but it’s going to be hours or days if it’s heavy, not weeks.
      “is possible turn off keys”: Probably. The microcontroller can be put into sleep mode at least.
      “wifi, BT,”: Yes, easily turned off in software.
      “dowcrease memory sped, cpu etc?”: Yes, you can do that, but it won’t dramatically help power consumption if that’s your reasoning. Peak power consumption will decrease, total consumed won’t.

  3. Linux on an old ultrabook gets the job done for me. I love electronics recycling day at the office.

    1. It’s a keyboard layout that would probably only appeal to people in the Mechanical Keyboard community. There’s a bit of a trend of people designing and building mechanical keyboards with minimal layouts.

      The number row, and the F1 to F12 row are likely accessed by different function layers (most likely the Lower and Raise keys).

      This specific keyboard layout is called the “Planck” keyboard, originated by Jack Humbert from olkb.com (he’s also the creator of QMK firmware, which is an open-source keyboard firmware). The concept is that every single function of a full size keyboard is accessible without ever taking your fingers away from home-row.

      1. Yup, I go between a 60% keyboard (think regular QWERTY but without navigation keys, function keys and numpad) and planck regularly.

        The planck is really nice because your fingers don’t move very much, especially your pinkies that sometimes have to stretch a fair bit on a regular keyboard. And with programmable firmwares that let you customize they key combinations you can really make it your own. What I do is use the “raise” layer to give me numbers on the home row, the symbols on the shifted number keys found on QWERTY above the home row and function keys below it. The “lower” layer gets treated a bit like the “AltGr” key non english speakers use a lot and fills in a few of the missing keys like symbols on the top left of the keyboard. It also gives me bluetooth pairing controls, volum up down, etc. And because all the keys are in a grid I don’t have to tilt my wrists as much which over long periods of typing is a lot more comfortable along with my fingers moving less and my thumbs getting used more

        1. I’ve designed and built two different custom ortholinear keyboards, and I really like the ergonomic benefits, and it isn’t too difficult to get accustomed to the layout.

          However, the thing that prevents me from using ortholinear keyboards regularly is that I can’t easily switch back and forth between normal layout and ortholinear. I can’t commit to it, I need to use my laptop keyboard far too often, and its hard to get back into that layout.