Most modern computers small enough to fit in a pocket either have a BlackBerry-style keyboard or a touchscreen display and no physical keyboard. But the Chonky Pocket stands out from the crowd.
Developer Daniel Norris says it’s an “almost pocket-sized portable computer” built around a Raspberry Pi, with all-day battery life, full-sized ports, and a keyboard large enough for touch typing… sort of. With just 10 keys, it takes a little bit of know-how to operate.
That’s because the Chonky Pocket uses a chording keyboard design that allows you to press different combinations of keys to enter text, numbers, symbols, and other functions. It’s basically the kind of system that stenographers use… but smaller.
The upshot is that the keys are large enough for touch typing with one hand or two, but you’ll need to memorize a series of “chords” before you can type anything.
Norris is no stranger to Raspberry Pi-based portable computers. Last year he designed the Chonky Palmtop with a split-keyboard for touch-typing. And he’s also built a Paper Pi Handheld, which is Raspberry Pi-based system with an E Ink display and a split keyboard for thumb-typing on either side.
He says his goal for the Chonky Pocket was to make a pocket-sized device, but the finished product is still a bit too big for most pockets (he says it does fit into the large pocket on a pair of cargo pants.
In addition to the chorded keyboard, the system has a 5 inch touchscreen LCD display, a speaker, exposed USB, Ethernet, and HDMI ports, motion sensors including an accelerometer and gyroscope and a rotary wheel that can be used to emulate scrolling with a mouse, among other things.
You can find more pictures, a parts list, build details, and other information in the GitHub page for the Chonky Pocket. Or if you just want to see it in action, check out a video Daniel posted to YouTube.