Hackaday at DEF CON 21

DEF CON 21 Badge

I’ve arrived at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada for DEF CON 21. Over the next couple of days, I’ll be talking about what I get up to here.

The main event today is registration, which means getting a neat badge. This year’s badge was designed by [Ryan Clarke]. According to the DEF CON booklet, they are “non-electronic-electronic” badges this year, and DEF CON will be alternating between electronic badges every other year.

The playing card design is printed on a PCB, and uses the silkscreen, solder mask, and copper layers to provide three colors for the artwork. The badge is a crypto challenge, featuring some cryptic characters, numbers, and an XOR gate. I don’t have any ideas about it yet, but some people are already working hard on cracking the code.

Tomorrow, I’ll be heading to a few talks including one on hacking cars that we discussed earlier, and one on decapping chips. I’ll also be checking out some of the villages. The Tamper Evident Village is premiering this year, and they’ll be showing off a variety of tamper proofing tech. I’ll also try to get to the Beverage Cooling Contraption Contest, where competitors build devices to cool beverages (ie, beer) as quickly as possible.

If you have any DEF CON tips, let me know in the comments.

2013 Open Hardware Summit badge includes ePaper display


Take a look at this sexy piece for open hardware. It’s what you’ll be wearing around your neck at the Open Hardware Summit this year. WyoLum teamed up with Repaper for the display and Seeed Studios for the boards.

It’s called the BADGEr and it’s both an Arduino and and Arduino shield. There are several different power options; coin-cell, microUSB, unpopulated barrel jack, or the lanyard terminals if you want to wear the power supply around your neck. You can see the five momentary push buttons see above, but on the back you’ll find the microSD card slot along with a power switch for preserving the coin cell.

Check out the video below for a quick look. In addition to acting as your credentials the conference schedule comes preloaded. And of course, this is an Open Source design so you can dig through schematic, board artwork, and code at the page linked above. Oh, and the first hack has already been pulled off. Here’s the badge reading Crime and Punishment.

Speaking of conference badges, DEF CON starts this week. Hackaday writer [Eric Evenchick] will be there and we hope he has a chance to look in on some of the badge hacking at the event.

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2013 LayerOne badge hacking contest winner


[Dynotronix] wrote in to share the news that he won the 2013 LayerOne badge hacking contest. In addition to the good news he included a description of his badge hack.

We got a good look at the hardware included on the badge several days ago. You may remember that it’s outfitted with footprints for 48 LEDs around the perimeter which are driven by two ICs. Looking at the image above it’s hard to miss the fact that [Dyno] didn’t populate any of that. He went right for the power of the XMEGA processor to analyze and generate signals.

But what specifically can you do with the signal this thing generates? Turns out a rather simple circuit can make it into a transmitter. [Dyno] concedes that it’s a remarkably finicky setup, but just a few components on a scrap of copper clad turned this into an FM transmitter. Check out the video where you can hear the sweeping alarm-type sounds pushed to an FM radio via his voltage controlled oscillator circuit which has a range of about fifteen feet.

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Meet the 2013 LayerOne conference badge


The LayerOne security conference is fast approaching and [charliex] is doing his best to put the finishing touches on this year’s conference badge.

Around the perimeter of the badge is 48 LEDs driven by two LED drivers. This allows for some crazy hardware hacking to create anything from a TV-B-GONE to a bulbdial clock. There’s also a few extra switches and sensors that can be hacked to do some interesting things, but where this badge really shines is the addition of an OLED display, allowing it to transform into an XMEGA Xprotolab, a small oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, and frequency generator. Yes, this badge can be hacked, but it’s also a tool for hacking.

There’s an impressive amount of work that went into this badge, a feat even more impressive given the fact that the LayerOne conference is this weekend and the PCBs for these badges won’t arrive until tomorrow. We’ll be the first to say we’re masters of procrastination, but [charliex] really cut it close here.

OLED name badge with rechargeable LiPo cell


Here’s a project that let [Rick Pannen] try his hand with an OLED display and a rechargeable power source. He calls it OLEDuino which is a mashup of the display type and the Arduino compatible chip running the whole thing. He figures it will serve nicely as a geeky name badge but also ported a Breakout type game to play when he’s bored.

The project is an inexpensive way to attempt a more permanent trinket than simply using Arduino and a breadboard. [Rick] sourced the OLED display and USB LiPo charging cable on eBay. The ATmega328 hiding below the display is being driven from the 3.7V LiPo cell without any power regulation. The four buttons at the bottom provide the only user input but it should be more than enough for a few simple tricks.

Head over to his code repo for a bit more information. The schematic and board are both Eagle files. We generated an image of the schematic and embedded it after the break if you want to take a quick look at how simple the hardware really is.

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Birthday badges teach kids how to solder

[Ian Lee, Sr] wanted to have an educational activity at his younger son’s birthday party. These were uncharted waters for him as he doesn’t remember education taking place at his own early birthday parties. But he came up with a great idea, with was to teach soldering using interactive badges which each guest could assemble themselves. He needed about twenty, so he tried to keep the BOM as small as possible. But that didn’t mean skimping on features.

You can see the black LED-type package on the left of the assembled badge above. This is an IR receiver whose counterpart transmitter is on the right side of the board. When two of these get within 6-8″ of each other the start talking back and forth. There is no microcontroller involved, instead the system relies on a multivibrator design. One of the red LEDs at the corner of the ‘smile’ is always blinking. When it is off, the IR transmitter is powered. This is picked up by another badge’s receiver, which lights the second ‘smile’ LED. You can see this happen in the short clip after the break.

Although there are relatively few components that went into this, it would take the kids a long time to put them together as they’re just learning. [Ian] and his eldest son soldered on all of the components except for the resistors beforehand.

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LayerOne badge hacking twofer

Here’s a pair of LayerOne Badge hacks that actually included the RC as intended by the badge designers.

First up, we have the autonomous RC car built by [Arko]. He calls it Stanley Jr. as an homage to the Stanford DARPA Grand Challenge vehicle. It uses an Arduino shield to add a servo with an ultrasonic rangefinder on it. The lets the vehicle drive a bit, stop and scan the horizon, then drive some more. The hope is the rangefinder will keep it from running into anything. There’s a quick test run embedded after the break.

On the right is the badge hack which [Zjpahle] finished up after the contest was already over. He also chose to go with an Arduino shield, this time it’s an IMU board. But he added a standalone Arduino board to the vehicle which drives some EL wire (ground effects) and adds IR sensors to the front of the car. The IR sensors are for obstacle avoidance, and the IMU lets him tilt his badge for direction control.

We looked at the winner of the badge hacking competition on Wednesday. That hack didn’t involve the car, but used the badge as a Morse Code beacon.

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