There’s no shortage of DIY portable computers made by cramming a Raspberry Pi together with a small display, keyboard, and battery. But the Chonky Palmtop is one of the most unusual I’ve seen to date, thanks to its split keyboard which folds up inside the case when you’re not using it and unfolds for comfortable touch-typing when you need it.
Designed and built by Daniel Norris, the Chonky Palmtop features a 7 inch touchscreen display, a Raspberry Pi 4, a 3D-printed case, and a split keyboard based on the open source Corne Keyboard design.
While the Chonky Palmtop certainly earns its name thanks to an incredibly thick (by modern standards) case, the design allows an entire Raspberry Pi Model B to be stuffed into the top section behind the display, ports and all. The battery and keyboard are positioned on the bottom.
Perhaps the most interesting component is the split keyboard, which is made from a $19 PCB Kit, a set of low profile keycaps, and slider mechanism which allows the keyboard to pivot so it can be unfolded for typing. It’s programmed with the Miryoku layout, which is designed to provide an ergonomic, minimal keyboard experience with support for mouse emulation that lets you control an on-screen cursor without reaching up to touch the display or connecting an external mouse.
Norris has shared a list of materials used to build the computer, design files for the 3D-printed case, and other details in a GitLab repository. So theoretically you could try building your own. Or you could just get a closer look at the build process.