One of the things that I most love about the Linux community is that "do-it-yourself" spirit, that attitude that says "if it doesn't exist, make it yourself." (Or, often times, "even if it does exist, make something similar yourself... just because you can.")
When I first caught wind of the Raspberry Pi (what seems like decades ago now), my imagination went wild. A tiny, low-power, ARM-based computer that I could load Linux on and do whatever I want with? The possibilities were almost endless.
For me, I ended up building a case for my Pi out of LEGO and using it first as a desktop replacement (seriously, it worked fantastically well) and then as a retro gaming rig hooked up to my TV. Great uses for this beautiful little computer, to be sure...but I always felt like I could be doing more with my Pi.
Then I saw the PiPad.
It's a Raspberry Pi-based tablet computer, complete with a 10-inch capacitive touchscreen, Wi-Fi, and an absolutely gorgeous wooden and carbon fiber case.
Credit: Michael Castor's Website
Built by Michael Castor in just two weeks (start to finish), this amazing rig gets roughly six hours of battery life and even sports hinges. That's right. It's a polished, wooden tablet that opens, allowing you to get at the internals in case you need (or want) to make any modifications or swap out the SD card. The PiPad was even signed by Eben Upton, the driving force behind the design of the Raspberry Pi itself, which is 14 different kinds of nerd cool.
Michael has even provided a detailed parts list and a walk-through explaining how he built the PiPad. So, if you've been itching to turn your Pi into a tablet computer – and, if you are anything like me, you absolutely have that particular itch – this is an amazing starting point.
According to Michael, the total cost of all the parts came out to roughly $350. Plus quite a lot of elbow grease, of course.
Which got me thinking...how much would I pay for a rig like this? Even considering the fact that the Raspberry Pi is a fair bit slower (with less RAM) than most Android tablets, I would still happily pay upwards of $450 for such a device. A wood and carbon fiber tablet that was user-serviceable with replaceable parts, running the Linux distro of my choice? Yes please.