Designing the Second Version of my Business Card

At the end of the month my contract with my current employer (no, not Hackaday) will end. With the interviews starting to line up I therefore thought it’d be a nice opportunity to design the PCB business card you can see in the picture above.

It is made of two PCBs soldered together, the bottom one containing the SMD components while the top one only has holes to let most of them pass through. The design was mainly inspired by the first version we already featured on Hackaday although the microcontroller was changed for the (costly) ATMega32u4 and the top PCB was slightly milled so the LEDs may shine through the FR4. The LEDs are connected in groups of 2 (total of 8 groups) to PWM channels and a hidden flash memory allows the card to be recognized as an external 2MB storage using the LUFA library. All source files may be downloaded on my website.

A Business Card that plays Simon Says

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When your name is Simon and you want to build your own circuit board business card, it makes perfect sense to incorporate a game of Simon Says, and that’s exactly what [Simon] did with his Business Card.

You may see a resemblance to the Engineer’s Emergency Business Card; that’s because [Simon] took inspiration from that card to build his own.  The game of Simon Says is played via 4 low-profile pushbuttons and 4 0805 LEDs.  The microcontroller of choice to run the game is an ATtiny45 set up to work with the Arduino IDE.  But with only 5 pins available for I/O, [Simon] had to give up 4 pins to the LEDs and configure the remaining pin as an analog input.  The buttons are tied into a voltage divider that feeds the analog input, so depending which button is pressed, a different voltage is read in, thus a value from 0 to 1023 determines which button was pressed.

One of the great things about this write-up is that it goes through the process of etching PCBs at home using the toner-transfer method.  We’re not sure how many home-etched business cards he’s willing to pass out, but surely whoever does get the card, will never forget his name.

[Read more...]

An ARM Powered Business Card, Part Two

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While most microcontroller powered business cards opt for something small and cheap, [Brian] is going in an entirely different direction. His business card features an ARM processor, some Flash storage, a USB connection, and enough peripherals to do some really cool stuff.

This is the second iteration of [Brian]‘s business card. We saw the first version, but this new version makes up for a few mistakes in the previous version. The biggest improvement is the replacement of the Molex USB plug with bare traces on the board. [Brian] couldn’t find a board house that could fab a board with the proper thickness for a USB plug, but a few strips of masking tape did enough to beef up the thickness and make his plug nice and snug. Also, the earlier version had a few pins sticking out of the board for programming purposes. This wasn’t an idea solution for a business card where it would be carried around in a pocket, so these pins were replaced with a connectorless programming adapter. Just a few exposed pads gives [Brian] all the programming abilities of the last version, without all those prickly pins to catch on clothing.

With his new business card, [Brian] has an excellent display of his engineering prowess and a very cool toy; he has a project that will turn this card into a keyboard emulator, randomly activating the Caps Lock button for a few seconds every few minutes. A great prank, and a great board to give to future employers.

Business card draws [ch00f]‘s logo

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[ch00f] is at it again, expanding the horizons of the art of PCB business cards. This one draws his logo on any computer over a USB port.

The physical design of the card is heavily inspired by [Frank Zhao]‘s card; both use an ATtiny85 and the V-USB package to handle the USB protocol and communications. Instead of typing words into a text editor like [Frank]‘s, [ch00f]‘s card draws the ch00ftech logo in MS Paint or other image editor.

There was a problem with simply emulating the mouse to draw a logo on the screen, though; because different computers have different mouse settings for acceleration, the ch00ftech logo was nearly always distorted. [ch00f] fixed that by emulating an absolute input device, basically turning his business card into a single-function pen tablet.

The logo was traced by hand and put into a few arrays in the firmware. Surprisingly, the logo didn’t take up much space – only 4k of the tiny85’s flash is used. There’s a lot more space for a more complicated drawing, but for now the simple ch00ftech logo (video after the break) will do.

[Read more...]

Capacitive touch business card

[Jay Kickliter] sent in his latest electronic business card. This time, his goal was to make it much cheaper so he could actually afford to give it away. He did pretty well considering the two week timeline he mentions. This card is using an MSP430 with the capsense library to light up some LEDs any time the card is handled. While he states that it is much cheaper than his last, it is still around $8 a card, so he won’t be tossing these into everyone’s hands.  He does point out though that it is always helpful to have hardware to show off at a hardware interview, and an electronic business card does that job very well.

As usual, you can read more details and download the files at his blog.

[Limpkin's] new business card

[Limpkin] decided to give the whole embedded business card thing a try. Here is his finished project, a low-profile mass storage business card that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Sure, the $6 price tag could score him a hundred paper cards, but those don’t light up like this one does!

The main components on the card include an AVR microcontroller, a flash memory chip, and an ESD protection chip. The latter is to make sure a static shock on the USB connector doesn’t zap the MCU. Speaking of, he went with an AT90USB162 which runs from an external 8 Mhz oscillator. Sure, it’s not the fastest thing out there, but since there’s only 16 Mb of flash on this card we don’t think you’ll notice any data transfer delay. The processor is running the LUFA stack and has two flavors of firmware. One that enumerates as an HID keyboard to automatically use keyboard shortcuts to launch a browser and load up his website. The other implements a mass storage device.

If you don’t like the electronic route, you could always go with some laser cut metal. We’ve heard that [Kevin Mitnick's] business card has snap-out lock picking tools kind of like these.

USB business card packs an ARM processor

Over on the Hackaday forums, [Brian] introduced himself by showing off his new business card. Given his expertise is creating unique circuit boards, we can’t imagine a better way to show off his skills than an ARM-powered business card.

[Brian] posted a more detailed write-up on his blog that covers his development process. He decided to use a 48-pin LPC1343 ARM Cortex M3 as a USB Mass Storage Class device. All the heavy lifting for instantiating a USB storage device is handled by the microcontroller, so all [Brian] had to do was wire up a Flash memory chip and access it over an SPI interface.

The finished business card functions just like a USB thumb drive with a whopping 1 Megabyte of storage. That’s not a lot of storage, but it has more than enough room for [Brian]‘s resume, a link to his website, and the full source code for his card.