Whether we are talking about Gibson’s expansion or our increasingly dystopian reality, one of the defining characteristics of cyberdeck is that it can be easily customized and upgraded over time. Although some of the compilations we’ve reviewed over the last few years have focused more on style than content, we do appreciate designs that embrace the concept of modularity to make sure the system can evolve to meet changing traffic hacking requirements.
For this purpose M3TAL from [BlastoSupreme] is a perfect example of what a cyberdeck should be. Of course, there is the cyberpunk aesthetic we expected, but more importantly, it is designed so that modifications and repairs are as quick and painless as possible. The trick is the use of an aluminum extrusion frame for 2020, which allows the outer panels and components to be attached anywhere along the deck using T-Nuts. Similarly, by mounting internal components to “sleds” that move between the extrusion parts, the electronics can be easily removed or replaced as complete modules.
Extending the idea of extensibility, [BlastoSupreme] has included an authentic 3.5 M3TAL floppy drive that allows it to pack an incredible 1.44 MB on any rugged and portable drive. Okay, maybe the floppy device isn’t awful impressive compared to 2021 technology, but looks strangely suitable for cyberdeck. On the opposite side of the deck there is a RetroCART slot that hides modern USB devices in awkward artificial cassettes. This provides a unified physical format for everything from removable storage to microcontrollers and software-defined radios.
[BlastoSupreme] also put a lot of time and effort into M3TAL input devices. There is a mechanical keyboard on board, which is something of a tradition for cyberdecks, but it features careful manual wiring and a Teensy 2.0 microcontroller hidden underneath. Next to it is a small joystick designed for the Nintendo switch, which is converted to USB via Arduino Pro Micro.
Looking at M3TAL, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that this isn’t the first custom cyberdeck [BlastoSupreme] has built. Last year we covered his giant NX-Yamato, and it is interesting to see the evolution of his technique. Clearly, this is not a manufacturer that is content to rest on its laurels, so we are eager to see what is in store for its next project.