It looks like a bit of a mess right now, but this is the makings of a DIY tablet computer using the Raspberry Pi. I originally got the idea from fellow Make blogger Adam Flaherty and was thinking about pursuing it as a potential kit for the Maker Shed. Unfortunately I couldn’t source the parts at a low enough price. Of course, that wasn’t going to stop me from building it myself! In the picture I’m logged into my Gmail account using Google Chat to talk to Eric Weinhoffer, the Product Development Engineer in the Maker Shed. Here’s what I’m using:
- 10″ Capacitive Touch Screen with LDVI Adapter from Chalk-Elec.com. I highly recommend this company even if they are based in Malaysia.
- Monoprice Wifi Adapter
- Anker Astro3E 10,000mAh battery – Puts out 3A @ 5V! Gives me about 6hrs of battery life.
- IOGear Micro Powered USB Hub – I might switch to a Belkin one in the final version.
- Azio Bluetooth Dongle – Mine is an older version that I had laying around. This one should work too.
- Adesso Bluetooth Mini Keyboard – Super thin and compact without being too cramped to type.
- Raspberry Pi Model B – Running Raspbian Wheezy.
- Custom hacked USB cable to power the LDVI adapter and hub. It’s not pretty but it works. I’ll probably have to redesign it later and make it more compact before fitting it into the enclosure. The plugs and cables take up too much room.
Here are the programs I installed using Apt-Get:
- matchbox-keyboard – Onscreen keyboard. Works great with the touchscreen but moves the icons around when active. Weird.
- bluetooth bluez-utils blueman – I followed this tutorial then used the GUI to set up the keyboard.
I’m very happy with this overall. Yes, I could have bought an Android tablet or even an iPad Mini for the same price but what’s the fun of that? Next up, I need an enclosure. I’m thinking of using baltic birch plywood and putting using carbon fiber for the back, just for extra sex appeal. The plan is to expose some USB ports, the SD Card slot (so I can swap in Raspbmc) and the GPIO using a cable. Now I just need the time to sit down and CAD the whole thing up. Updates to follow!