Apple can’t touch this

Meet DukePad, the DIY JavaFX tablet

Elliot Bentley
dukepad-teaser

Raspberry Pi-powered touchscreen gadget shown off at JavaOne technical keynote, but you won’t find it in stores.

JavaFX has been trotted out at every recent
JavaOne as one of the platform’s big new features, but the dev team
have often struggled to come up with a convincing tech demo to
communicate its appeal.

However, at this year’s technical keynote Oracle
devs Jasper Potts and Richard Bair presented a demo that got heads
turning: a JavaFX-powered touchscreen tablet called the
DukePad.

Don’t get too excited – you’re highly unlikely
to find this gadget on sale in your local Best Buy anytime soon. In
contrast to other tablets like the locked-down iPad and


not-quite-open
Nexus 7, the DukePad is an
open source hardware design that uses off-the-shelf parts and is
entirely powered by OSS.

Alongside the detailed
build instructions
, the team write that they hope
it will provide “a way for kids to learn how computers work and to
fire their imaginations for those things that are not yet built,
but desperately need a builder to dream them up and make them
happen!”

Part of the laser
cutter template for the DukePad body.

At its core is a Raspberry Pi, which Java now
runs natively on thanks to Oracle’s work on

Java for ARM
. The DukePad’s ‘Apps’,
meanwhile, are simply JavaFX OSGi Modules running on Java SE 8
Embedded.

The hardware parts cost around $400 in total,
with the most expensive component being a 10″ touchscreen ($135).
Considerable DIY skills are needed too, such as laser cutting the
acrylic body of the DukePad, although pre-built kits are apparently
planned.

Last year’s JavaOne was the first time JavaFX
had been shown running on the ARM-powered Raspberry Pi and, perhaps
spurred on by its popularity, the team has latched on to the Pi as
a vehicle for their struggling platform. The centerpiece of Oracle
evangelist Stephen Chin’s

NightHacking tour
was a JavaFX demo which
ran identically on both his laptop and a Pi.

The open hardware running a unified codebase
also ties in loosely with the message from the

strategy keynote
at this year’s JavaOne,
which outlined a vision of “billions” of interconnected devices,
all – if Oracle has its way – running a single, unified version of
Java.

If the idea of building your own DukePad appeals, you can
find build instructions on
the
OJDK wiki
.

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