A Business Card That Plays Simon Says


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.


16 thoughts on “A Business Card That Plays Simon Says

  1. A- I hardly believe the face was supposed to be negative, but then again I’m in lack of a finished, standalone project to call my own so no pun intended – forgetting the inverting thing is one of my specialities when it comes to self etched boards. Gratulation, Simon.

  2. He could have gotten away with three pins for the LEDs using charlieplexing, and with only one LED lit at a time it’s an easy ‘plex… But two pins remaining still doesn’t give him enough for the inputs as digital (with diodes you could get away with three, again charlieplexing).

    1. I have been using the Sun or Newsweekly or any other trashy mags that are highly glossed that have Kim Kardashian’s face on that I can place the footprint of an AtMega on top of! I will definitely try the wrapping paper trick as it might be a little easier!

    2. I have been using Ikea catalog, but the results aren’t uniform. Toner
      stick to their darker prints which unfortunately seems to most of their
      pages. I’ll drop by the Dollar store and see if they have some wrapping
      paper with the right surface.

  3. These cards are a business novelty that performs the same function as business card, kinda neat but how effective in the long run? The more common novelties a pens pencil as the most basic Pocket tape measures, simple travel mugs etc. at the higher end. I have to believe these would be too expensive to serve as a business novelty. My guess the cost is that they will only be given only to the brass when meeting with the brass when creating a new relationship with a new customer or reinforcing a relationship with a current customer. They probably cost to much to give out freely to the employees who spend their employer’s money to purchase the goods and services to make a profit for their employer. Most employee aren’t going to make decisions based on a trinket, but a business that treats the employees of another business as important as they are to give them the trinket in the first place respects those employees over all and that’s the competitive edge.

    1. > They probably cost to much
      > Most employee aren’t going to make decisions
      > The more common novelties a pens pencil as the most basic Pocket tape measures, simple travel mugs etc. at the higher end [Word salad alart – Ed.]

      Somehow I doubt you’re making very many executive-level decisions or impressing very many people with your intelligence yourself, champ. I guess that’s how the saying goes: Those who can accomplish get posted on Hack-A-Day. Those who can’t accomplish will just piss and moan about the articles on Hack-A-Day.

    2. You’re probably right, they’re much more expensive than normal paper cards. I made them for an application for an apprenticeship, so i think the money is well invested. I made 12 of them so far. They cost about 5$ each.

    1. That’s clever! Though at $12 each populated (except the switches) I dunno how practical they are to give out. I realise some of the $12 is profit, but still. Depends how expensive their products are, or how highly-paid you’d want to be to buy a few to give out. Custom keyboards probably not a mass-market item.

  4. He *could* have used the I/O lines that drives the LED for scanning the
    keys as a 4×1 matrix. Use a pull up on the input line, scan each of the
    switches one by one by setting the corresponding I/O to low while
    leaving the rest of them at tristate.

    This saves 4 resistors and as a side effect could potentially making the
    routing cleaner since the switch is next to its LED.

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