Meet Chonky Pocket, the almost-pocket-sized computer

This little computer is called Chonky Pocket and, while cute, failed its assignment to be a pocket-sized computer for its maker Dan. On the bright side, it does fit in a bigger cargo shorts pocket, so Dan has access to his pocket-sized device of dreams when the weather is nice.

chonky pocket
Because it is too chonky for regular pockets, it was easy to land on an adorable name for this build.

A Raspberry Pi 4 at Chonky Pocket’s heart gives you all the functionality of a desktop computer. Little extras like volume and brightness buttons add to the experience. A tiny kickstand on the back tilts the entire unit to make it easier to read the screen, and the keyboard is also angled for comfort and ease of use. Dan has poured all the build details into GitHub, so you can have a more detailed read about how he made it.

Hardware

The AmpRipper 4000, a Raspberry Pi-compatible 5V fast-charging LiPo battery, powers Chonky Pocket. It’s a brand new product which only recently starting shipping after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Dan designed the 3D-printed case so that the switch built into the power supply was exposed, creating a de facto on/off switch.

Here are all the STL files if you’d like to 3D print your own Chonky Pocket enclosure. Dan used Design White and Galaxy Black Jessie filament.

Look mum, one hand!

Chonky Pocket uses Artsey, a one-handed keyboard system that uses eight keys in a 2×4 layout. This demo video shows you how it works:

The keyboard and rotary encoder are wired directly to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins. Dan added a couple of extra keys to the Artsey design to allow him to access some programming-related symbols more quickly.

Next time, more tiny!

Dan still dreams of building a truly pocket-sized version of Chonky Pocket, so he is probably going to pivot to Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W. He has also made vague threats to strip all the ports off of a Raspberry Pi 3 or 4 to get it small enough. We await your butchery with baited breath, Dan.

5 comments

Anders avatar

Tomorrows World, 1980 is where I first saw a demonstration of a chorded keyboard. The Microwriter.

Dominic Spoeth avatar

Reading glasses required. :D

Berto, un huargo avatar

Goodness wow, that AmpRipper 4000 is precisely what I was looking for to fully power both the Pi 4B and a touchscreen monitor for a tablet I’m also figuring out how to make on my own. [Yes, this will also involve desoldering and relocating USB and ethernet ports. Sure there’s the CutiePi, but I wanna try my hand at making my own tablet.]

If only I had known about this Kickstarter campaign a month earlier! Guess I’ll have to wait until they’re on sale in a regular manner. Granted, Kickstart Design’s own site acknowledges the challenges of getting.the word out about their products.

Still, I appreciate this article letting me know about it!

Armisis avatar

Sad that the CHIP failed and did not go fully open source. That thing was amazing and it had potential but it died a bad death. I still got mine but it’s so dated and I cannot get it to patch anymore.

Cristian avatar

Its a shame, same here

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