A badge without a conference

We saw this one a few days ago when it was first bouncing around the interwebs but never took a close look at it. Today, when we ran across a direct link in the tips box it was the promo video (embedded after the break) that won us over. Once you dig into the particulars of The Verbalizer we think you’ll agree that this is a hackable conference badge without the pesky need to attend a conference.

As you probably guessed from the design of the PCB, this is a microphone. It’s intended for use with Google’s new voice search feature, and connects to a computer via a Bluetooth module. But really it’s just another roll-your-own Arduino with a few extra bits. You’ll find an ATmega328 and an FTDI chip which provides a USB connection for programming. The real fun starts with the microphone and speaker circuitry which is just waiting to be breadboarded at home. We found a few other things while poking around in the schematic (available by downloading their Product Docs and Schematics package). It looks like there’s some capacitive touch… you what? Isn’t it more fun if you find this stuff yourself, kind of like the hidden gems of the DEFCON badges?

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Nixie tube conference badge

troopers11_badge

Maker [Jeffrey Gough] was recently asked to construct a set of badges for the TROOPERS11 IT security conference held in Heidelberg last month. The badges were to reflect the overall theme of this year’s conference – personal progression, education, and striving to become better IT security professionals. To do this, he designed a badge that tracked a conference attendee’s participation in various activities.

The badge sports a center-mounted nixie tube that is used to show the attendee’s score. It is worn around the neck using a Cat-5 cable that acts as a LANyard as well serves as a power switch for the badge. The badge can be plugged in to a special programmer used by conference organizers, which updates the attendee’s score after completing each activity.

[Jeffrey] made sure to add all sorts of extra goodies to the badge, including a capacitive touch button that displays a secret message via the nixie, as well as plenty of hole and SMT pads so that hackers could get their game on.

Overall, the reception of the badge was extremely positive. All of the conference attendees had lots of fun exploiting the badges as well as adding components such as LEDs and speakers.

Continue reading to check out a quick demonstration video [Jeffrey] put together, highlighting the badge’s features.

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A look back at DefCon 18 badges

As he does every year, [Joe Grand] gave a talk explaining the development process for Defcon 18 badges. We looked in on these when details started trickling out back in July. They feature a neat bit of tech in the form of an LCD that acts much like ePaper. It doesn’t take any electricity to hold the image, only to change the display. This is a valuable feature for a battery powered device and allowed him to get about 9 days of juice out of a CR2032. This year’s badges also used laser-etched Aluminum as a substrate.

We’ve embedded the talk after the break and found it interesting enough to watch the entire hour. If you’re more interested in the hacks that came out of the badge, we’ve put together a playlist of videos [Joe] took while at the conference.

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Have you ever wanted to be on (Internet) TV?

Are you an independent inventor? It might just be your lucky day. The fine folks at Independent Inventor TV, a new show currently filming for Revision3, is looking for home and garage based inventors to present their inventions for the camera. Currently they are based out of San Francisco, CA and are looking to film people in person, or by Skype if you are out of town.

To apply to be on the show, send an email to Independent.Inventor.tv(at)gmail.com with the details, photos, and videos of your inventions. The shooting date of the show is November 15th, so make sure to have all submissions in well before then. The selected inventors will get to meet the hosts, Comedian Jonah Ray, as well as fellow hacker [Joe Grand] (who is the creator of many of the DefCon Badges we have covered before). Be sure to let them know Hackaday sent you!

RGB stroboscopic guitar tuning

This is [Michael Ossmann’s] RGB LED stroboscopic guitar tuner. If his name is familiar that’s because we mentioned he’d be giving a talk with [Travis Goodspeed] at ToorCon. But he went to DefCon as well and spent the weekend in his hotel room trying to win the badge hacking contest.

Despite adversity he did get his tuner working. It’s built into a toy guitar that he takes on road trips with him. By adding a row of RGB LEDs between two of the frets he can use the vibration frequency of an in-tune string to flash the three different colors. If the string is not in tune the three colors will dance around but matching it with the LED frequency produces a stable color. He then uses that big yellow button to advance to the next string. See his demonstration after the break.

This is basically a built-in plectrum tuner that uses one LED package instead of two.

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DefCon 18 Official Badges

The details are out for the DefCon 18 badges. The new design has a lot of goodies packed into it, most notably a 128×32 LCD display. You can’t see it in the image above because it’s on the other side of the badge; the ribbon cable passes through a slit in the substrate to reach the connector on the back. The board has a mini-USB connector and is meant to get even the unseasoned novice up and running with some firmware tweaks. The Freescale processor (which is the same chip as last year’s badge) is running a bootloader that can be accessed and flashed using a terminal program. Yeah… impressive.

But it doesn’t stop with the component selection or firmware mastery, these badges are beautiful too. What you see above is the prototype, but the 7780 badges produced come in seven different flavors (as usual), laser etched on a PCB that uses Aluminum as the substrate. Line up all the badges side-to-side and you get a graphic art storyboard. [Joe] outdid himself this year, and he’s been nice enough to share the development details (PDF) which we spent way too much time drooling over.

[Thanks Kim]

2010 Ninja Party badge

Wired took a look at this year’s Ninja Party badges. We were giddy about all the goodies involved in last year’s must-have badge that served as an invitation to the party. It was tailor-made for hacking, including an on-board disassembler. This year’s details are still a bit sparse but the offering is more along the lines of a market-ready product. The badges come in hand held gaming format, with a d-pad and two buttons. They can connect wirelessly with each other and with hidden base stations, allowing participants to fight in the digital realm for LED-indicated achievements. The teaser is tantalizing and we can’t wait to hear details about the real/digital gaming adventure soon to unfold.