DIY: Create Your Own (Small) Laptop!

Ashwini Kumar Sinha

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In this age of flexible working, the usage of laptops anywhere and everywhere has become a norm. Fast computing machines, especially for programming related tasks, are essential.

Tasks including network penetration and testing the potency of malware and virus is often performed in spying and ethical hacking. The user is required to work on a computer that’s small in size and can’t be easily noticed. And despite the size, the laptop should have excellent specifications, on par with other high spec laptops.

So today, you will learn to design the world’s smallest hacking laptop that has a full touch keyboard. Excited?? Let’s begin. But you will first need to decide the specs of your laptop so that the appropriate hardware parts and OS can be selected.

Fig 1. Author’s prototype
Fig 2. Smallest hacking laptop with touch keypad
Fig 3. Smallest hacking laptop running Linux terminal

Laptop Features 

  • Small as your finger
  • Easy to carry and hide 
  • Built-in multi-touch display and keyboard panel
  • Equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth LE  

The best OS for ethical hacking is Kali Linux. It comes with various exploitation tools such as Metasploit, Aircrack-ng and Wireshark that are beneficial for penetration hacking and testing.

After deciding the computer specifications, let’s do some shopping for components.

Bill Of Materials

Designing 

To design the case or body of the laptop for holding the necessary hardware, begin working on three parts: base, top and front.

In the base part, keep the main hardware, that is, Raspberry Pi, battery and its charging system. Also, cut two slots at the bottom-front of the laptop case for the ethernet/USB and charging ports. 

Fig 6. Laptop base case

For the top part that will hold the touch e-paper-based keyboard for the laptop, cut a slot on the top-front face to affix the touch panel keyboard inside (refer Fig 4.)

Fig 6. Base cover design that hold the keyboard part

To design the LCD panel case for the laptop in the front, create an enclosure with the same size and thickness. 

Fig 7.LCD panel design

After designing the laptop body parts, 3D print them. 

Prerequisite

Before proceeding further, follow the basic setup procedures for your Raspberry Pi board. Most white hat hackers prefer Kali Linux OS. Therefore, its setup on your RPi board is highly recommended. Please follow the below steps:

  1. Go to the official website of Kali Linux and download the latest version for Arm-based devices like Raspberry Pi.  
  2. Install the Raspberry Pi disk imager. 
  3. Now insert the SD card into the USB drive. 
  4. Choose the Kali Linux OS image file and install Kali Linux OS in the SD card using the Raspberry Pi disk imager.
Fig 9. Preparing the SD card with Kali Linux OS

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