Programmable Badge uses E-Ink and ESP8266

You’ve probably noticed that the hacker world is somewhat enamored with overly complex electronic event badges. Somewhere along the line, we went from using a piece of laminated paper on a lanyard to custom designed gadgets that pack in enough hardware that they could have passed for PDAs not that long ago. But what if there was a way to combine this love for weighing down one’s neck with silicon jewelry and the old school “Hello my name is…” stickers?

[Squaro Engineering] might have the solution with Badgy, their multi-function e-ink name…well, badge. Compatible with the Arduino SDK, it can serve as anything from a weather display to a remote for your smart home. Oh, and we suppose in an absolute emergency it could be used to avoid having to awkwardly introduce yourself to strangers.

Powered by an ESP-12F, Badgy features a 2.9″ 296×128 E-Ink display and a five-way tactical switch for user input. The default firmware includes support for WiFiManager and OTA updates to make uploading your own binaries as easy as possible, and a number of example Sketches are provided to show you the ropes. Powered by a LIR2450 3.6 V lithium-ion rechargeable coin cell, it can run for up to 35 days in deep sleep or around 5 hours of heavy usage.

Schematics, source code, and a Bill of Materials are all available under the MIT license if you want to try your hand at building your own, and assembled badges are available on Tindie. While it might not be as impressive as a retro computer hanging around your neck, it definitely looks like an interesting platform to hack on.

34 thoughts on “Programmable Badge uses E-Ink and ESP8266

    1. Yeah the price is good. When I clicked the link I had an expectation of around $60-70 USD as is the case with many small production runs of anything custom containing an ATMega or ESP in it’s guts.

      $30.00 is a great price for a tidy assembly with ESP, Display and charging built in. USB-Serial isn’t there, but they have made the TX/RX and the required Pin 0 and reset very accessible on pads. I also like the thoughtful JST header for those that would like to put a bigger battery on it.

      I’m impressed.

  1. ” But what if there was a way to combine this love for weighing down one’s neck with silicon jewelry and the old school “Hello my name is…” stickers?”

    E-ink T-shirt for all your identity issues.

  2. Perhaps the next great badge will be a full scale TRS-80 (complete with integrated CRT) hanging on a chain around our necks. (Shades of Flavor Flav….) The “optional badge accessories” list will include a backpack full of batteries and an inverter to extend the battery life more than the thirteen seconds provided by the included AAA cells.

  3. Has anyone been able to get one of these to work in portrait orientation? Short of creating a graphic and rendering that I couldn’t get this display to render text rotated 90deg. I have the bigger version of this display and wanted to have it in portrait orientation, like an ID badge not landscape like a license plate.

  4. 35 days of battery life? Then what? Replace the battery?
    When are we going to see more environmental friendly designs? This is e-ink, it is supposed for much longer than that…

  5. I’m wondering how rigorous he tested his design. Running the 3.3V LDO off of a Lithium-Cell that can be discharged to 2.5 to 3V depending on chemistry seems somewhat questionable. Plus he’s wasting several mA on the quiescent current (disguised as “Minimum Load Current” in the DS). Running everything at around 2,8V and using a low-quiescent LDO or buck-converter might be a better option there.
    A nice touch for a 2nd version would be to measure the battery voltage via the (currently unused) ADC.

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