Do you miss phones with slide-out keyboards? Can you pretend you miss them long enough to hear about a cool Raspberry Pi project? Ok, great, because there’s a new open-source handheld computer project that basically turns your Raspberry Pi (or similar board like the Pine H64 Model B or the ASUS Tinker Board S) into a Motorola Droid.
It’s called the MutantC v3, and it’s actually the latest iteration of a concept that’s been around since its creator, Rahmanshaber, debuted the MutantC v1 back in 2019.
Essentially, what the MutantC v3 does is fit your Raspberry Pi into a tiny case with a thumb-friendly keyboard on top and a slide-out touch display fitted over it. In other words, you can either use it like a tablet, or slide the display up to reveal the keyboard for physical typing. The Mutant C v3 adds a trackpoint on the case’s right-hand side (along with buttons for both left and right-click), plus support for a buzzer, a real-time clock, a gyroscope, and a humidity/pressure/temperature sensor. The keyboard also uses less power, and there’s space for a 12-pin UART/12C/GPIO docking port, though there’s no official dock design yet.
Of course, being an open-source project, there’s not much official anything. It’s up to you to buy all the cables, transistors, and modules this project requires, and you’ll also need a 3D printer to get your hands on the enclosure.
Luckily, there’s also a parts list and multiple build guides over on the MutantC v3’s Gitlab page. Of note is that there are three display size options, ranging from 2.8-inch to 3.5-inch to a full 4 inches.
You won’t need any custom software or coding skill for this project, though, since it just runs off Raspberry Pi OS (or whatever equivalent OS your board uses). The most you'll need to know is how to solder and how to install the drivers for your hardware.
Be sure to check out our list of Best Raspberry Pi Projects for more cool creations from the maker community.
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Michelle Ehrhardt is an editor at Tom's Hardware. She's been following tech since her family got a Gateway running Windows 95, and is now on her third custom-built system. Her work has been published in publications like Paste, The Atlantic, and Kill Screen, just to name a few. She also holds a master's degree in game design from NYU.