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Future Vintage learning desk 4000



During a Job in an old Berlin bookstore, we came across this learning desk. The client of the job has left it to us. The desk comes from a Berlin school. A scribble of a student inside the desk indicates the date May 1957. So the desk is older. During the lockdown in 2020 and because of homeschooling-methods I had the idea to make the table ready for the 21st century.


CAD-Design, Construction and the parts

First, I measured the table and used a CAD application to create a digital image of the table. The next step was to choose the right hardware for the table. A Raspberry Pi 4 single board computer was to be built into the desk. I attached HDMI, Ethernet and USB connectors to stainless steel plates and mounted them on the sides of the desk. Inside the desk next to the single board computer, I placed a network switch, a router, power supplies and a general power distribution. There is a wifi access point on the outside of the table. A bracket for two screens is attached to a square tube made of metal. The Raspberry Pi single board computer has two HDMI outputs for both screens.

The desk itself is on wheels with brakes attached and comes with a power plug to use anywhere. Below you will find a couple of photos and the concept drawing of the table. I give a .dwg and .dxf to it. With a CAD application you can read the dimensions of the table, or even build the historic wooden construction yourself. The measurement of the desk and the input into the computer with the CAD application was made precisely by me to the millimeter.

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Operating System and Software

The operating system on the Raspberry Pi 4 inside the desk is Manjaro Linux ARM version. In one of the pictures below you can see the stats and the logo of Manjaro. It is ok-ish for easy office and internet tasks. To open larger PDF files it can take a few seconds until the files are displayed. The preinstalled firefox-browser gives you the best performance for display PDF files. Its because of the limited performance of the Raspberry Pi 4 computer, rendering larger files takes a while.

Classic work with the command line works very smoothly. With the program Neovim I have already written simple Python programs on the learning desk. A small, but more powerful computer, would make sense if you were working with the desk every day. The current situation is considered to be a proof-of-concept.


The design of the desk is intended to show how to combine modern technology with old stuff. Educational content in computer science is currently not mandatory in Germany. Computer science education is a crucial foundation of digital education. Computer science is the core subject of informatics education and should be introduced to children at an early age. In addition to the subject of "computer science," however, computer science education should be in other subjects such as German, mathematics, and science education. This requires the same discipline as the students who learned to read and write at this learning desk as early as 1957.