HOPE Badge Proximity Sensor

The HOPE conference was last weekend and [Nathan] spent some time with fellow members of Makers Local 256 developing this badge proximity sensor. They took one of the HOPE badges, which have a radio on board for the tracking network, and wrote code for its MSP430 to detect other badges nearby. It uses a Geiger counter they brought with them as an enclosure, re-purposing the analog gauge to reflect the level of active radio signals in the area. You’ll find their demo clip embedded after the break.

If you managed to get your hands on one of these badges, don’t be shy about sharing your hacks. We want to see them.


14 thoughts on “HOPE Badge Proximity Sensor

  1. Can I addend this to the questionaire of things I don’t care about/want to see on HAD. I totally forgot about HOPE badges lol. BTW, the new content is going in the right direction imho otherwise :)

  2. I have a Victoreen Model 3A. It’s an amazing piece of 60’s era engineering and manufacturing. The quality of the construction coupled with the information contained in the manual show they were built to last and to be reliable. Good since they were supposed to be used by first responders in the even of a nuclear disaster of any origin.

    I just wish I had the balls to tear into in a figure out why it’s reading high (like 100 R/hr in my apartment). I’m pretty sure the ion chamber is good. I just don’t have a Co-60 source strong enough laying around to calibrate it.

  3. I have one of those too. It was ~$20 at a computer show and I couldn’t pass it up, but they are indeed worthless beyond their use as a first response detector in the event of a nuclear blast.

    Basically, if the needle moves, that indicates there is enough radiation in the area that you shouldn’t be outside if you can at all help it. The high end of the 1x scale, 5 R/h, is about the highest radiation the human body can deal with. At 50 R/h (the highest this meter can detect), your well on your way to radiation sickness so the exact measurement is probably the least of your worries.

  4. I bought an old victoreen at the Galveston Island surplus store. Had the original manual, which has a stupidly awesome amount of detail. The insides are toast, so I am going to use it to make something one day.

  5. Heh. Nice hack! I, like many, have been waiting on my TI Launchpad kit(s) to come in. Glad to see you guys were able to throw something together and put it in an attractive case to boot. I have one of those yellow handheld devices in my office that my boss gave to me. I’d love to either fix it, or retrofit it with something interesting like this. Maybe wire in a potentiometer in the handle so I can have my own personal “idiot detector” to wander around the office with. Hmmmmm..

  6. Thanks for the comments.

    This WAS a fairly easy hack I’ll admit. but the results were a lot of fun and interesting. so i stand by it.

    @minipimmer – yes, the case cuts the signal down, but it would still respond to badges at close (~3ft) range. when wandering around the hotel i just left the case off.

    @asheets – nothing about the original equipment has been destroyed. In fact, it was one of the original goals when I made this as a wifi detector. It still functions for it’s original purpose. just pop in the battery for that circuit.

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