Steampunk portable Rasp Pi lunchbox

Future Upgrades

Having a "one-button" shutdown would be nice, which just requires writing a little Python program that runs at startup and watches for a button push. When it gets one, the program makes an operating system call to execute the sudo shutdown -h now command. This technique would save having to hunt around on the screen for the shutdown icon and menu.

Another upgrade might be to motorize the wired Raspberry Pi camera with pan and tilt capability. The camera could rise up out of the lunchbox with a lifting mechanism and then use pan and tilt servos to direct the field of view. OpenCV [5] might make it possible to recognize and track faces and do other cool things.

Lastly, I want to develop some type of bus or network system to manage Hedley and Barkley (a soon-to-be-built skeletal robotic companion) for tech talks and shows.


The lunchbox computer has proven reasonably durable. I've used it off and on for about a month without problems. A fully charged battery runs for about six hours. Bootup is pretty quick from poweron to a working desktop in about 30 seconds.

The steampunk look certainly draws a lot of attention, although one lady at a coffee shop asked if it had anything to do with launching rockets for spaceflight.

The Author

Rob "drtorq" Reilly is an independent consultant, writer, and speaker specializing in Linux/OSS, physical computing, hardware hacking, tech media, and the DIY/Maker movement. He provides a variety of engineering, business, and special project services to individual clients and companies. As a long-time veteran of the tech media, Dr. Torq has posted hundreds of feature-length articles for top-tier tech media and print outlets. He's also presented tech talks at OSCON and other industry venues. Contact him at or 407-718-3274.

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