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A military-looking cyberdeck with a built-in Geiger counter

Arduino TeamNovember 25th, 2020

Combining cosplay and actual science, as well as an origin story that entails the two, this R.A.T.I.S. (Remote Assault and Tactical Intelligence System) cyberdeck by Paul Hoets is a true retrofuturistic work of art.

The build supposedly has its roots in the 1970s South African nuclear program, where it was used for radiation measurement and encrypted satellite data transfer. Given the luggable cyberdeck’s superb quality, one could almost believe it was military equipment.

Looking inside the rugged case reveals a Raspberry Pi 3 that provides computing power along with an Arduino Leonardo for a custom joystick input device. While there’s no satellite uplink (at least not without WiFi), it does feature a functional Geiger counter, which allows one to monitor local conditions for dangerous radiation levels.

The keyboard (quite nicely shoehorned into the lid of the waterproof case, unlike the, um, actual main panel…) is a combination of wireless Logitech keyboard bunker (a carefully planned slot with magnets holds the keyboard in place), and an Arduino Leonardo connected to a small joystick, click function being right-click, a left-right-up-down set of buttons, and a FIRE button connected to a red LED when pressed. All of which becomes a USB controller when connected with USB to the main panel. This means that you could survive without a mouse, having the same functions available. Of course, the entire thing is reprogrammable, and the little panels were supposed to be removeable for prototyping, but I kinda just got tired and never developed it further. Maybe next time….


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