Next HOPE Badge Hacking Primer

[Travis Goodspeed] is taking a look at the attendee badges for this year’s Next HOPE conference. He’s given us a pretty good look at what is on the board, what it means to you, and how you can get at it. Of course the final hardware specs are a secret until conference time, but this will help you get some ideas and ensure that you bring the right add-on hardware. We normally try not to do too much quoting, but one of [Travis’] statements literally makes us laugh out loud (as opposed to what most people describe as lol):

“These badges are active RFID tags which beacon the position of each attendee a few times a second, so that the god damned devil army of lies–by which I mean the Next HOPE badge committee–can track each attendee around the Hotel Pennsylvania.”

No matter how you feel about the badge committee, the tradition of hacking conference badges is a fun, rewarding, and often frustration past-time. The badges are actually using the concept of OpenAMD. The last three letters stand for Attendee Meta Data which is an evolving concept. How can meta data about attendees be useful to all involved in a non-invasive way? How about associating yourself with a concept, like microcontroller programming. What if you could search to find out where other people interested in that are right now? Could be great… could end up in an impromptu meeting around the restrooms for no good reason. Either way, take a look at the teaser video covering the topic after the break.

Oh, one more note about the hardware. This year they’re moving away from PIC based badges to the more energy-efficient MSP430 line. It’s not one of the value-line processors that the Launchpad is meant for, but this bigger-brother ‘F’ chip will be no problem to work with if you’ve already spent some time with the ‘G’ series.


10 thoughts on “Next HOPE Badge Hacking Primer

  1. @localroger

    The arduino *twitch* it’s blinking lights *convulse* twittering when I take a dump *shaking uncontrollably* AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH



  2. Good luck finding a free compiler for the msp430x that actually works. GCC isn’t nearly there, doesn’t even have int64_t support yet, and has a ton of other bugs. Everybody just hacks their own 3.2.3 version together from the various hacks and patches out there to get at least the subset of features that their projects require. Couple this with its inability to read words from non word-aligned addresses (don’t ask me why I need it, but I do) make these a fecking nightmare to program for.

    If TI really wants to push these chips to the homebrew scene, they should either provide a low-cost/free version of their compiler, or put some effort into the GCC port.

    Nice electrical characteristics though, and low power consumption.

  3. Also, 3 LEDs (IIRC, red, green, and blue were discussed) and 8 buttons. Unfortunately, the RFID readers don’t support sending data down to the cards live, it’s all up from the card.

    you toootally didn’t hear this from me.

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