The BornHack Badge Gets A Bubble

In a year of semiconductor shortages it’s a difficult task to deliver an electronic conference badge, so this year’s BornHack camp in Denmark had an SAO prototyping board as its badge. Some people made blinkies with theirs, but that wasn’t enough for [Inne] who had to go a step further with a light-up pneumatic bubble badge. It’s based upon a previous project producing silicone inflatable bubbles, but in a portable badge form.

On the front of the PCB is a multi-colour LED for illumination, while on the back is a small microcontroller board, a pressure sensor, and a motor driver circuit. A small air pump and battery sits in a pocket connected by a cable and a flexible tube, allowing the bubble to inflate at will. An interesting detail was the use of a cut-down hypodermic needle to carry the air through the silicone wall of the bubble. When seen up close at the camp it was an unnervingly organic effect, if there’s an uncanny valley of badges this is it.

We don’t see much in the way of soft robotics on these pages, so this happy crossover with BadgeLife is a special treat. It’s not entirely alone here though.

This Week In Security: Ransomware Decryption, OpenSSL, And USBGadget Spoofing

We’ve covered a lot of ransomware here, but we haven’t spent a lot of time looking at the decryptor tools available to victims. When ransomware gangs give up, or change names, some of them release a decryption tool for victims who haven’t paid. It’s not really a good idea to run one of those decryptors, though. The publishers don’t have a great track record for taking care of your data, after all. When a decryptor does get released, and is verified to work, security researchers will reverse engineer the tool, and release a known-good decryption program.

The good folks at No More Ransom are leading the charge, building such tools, and hosting a collection of them. They also offer Crypto Sheriff, a tool to identify which ransomware strain got your files. Upload a couple encrypted files, and it will inform you exactly what you’re dealing with, and whether there is a decryptor available. The site is a cooperation between the Dutch police, Interpol, Kaspersky, and McAfee. It may surprise you to know that they recommend reporting every ransomware case to the authorities. I can confirm that at the very least, the FBI in the US are very interested in keeping track of the various ransomware attacks — I’ve fielded a surprise call from an agent following up on an infection.


The OpenSSL project has fixed a pair of vulnerabilities, CVE-2021-3711 and CVE-2021-3712 with release 1.1.11l. The first is a possible buffer overflow caused by a naive length calculation function. A “fixed” length header is actually dynamic, so a carefully crafted plaintext can overflow the allocated buffer. Continue reading “This Week In Security: Ransomware Decryption, OpenSSL, And USBGadget Spoofing”

a render of the curved bartop arcade machine in fusion 360

Bartop Arcade Machine That Isn’t Afraid Of Change

Arcade machines have a distinct look and feel with large imposing cabinets and smaller bartop machines that try to keep the look and feel of a traditional upright arcade cabinet while taking up less space. An entirely new aesthetic has been given for this engineering marvel of a bartop arcade that [DIY Engineering] has made. Gone is the expansive angular box, and in its place are sleek and slender curves. The key piece that makes this build work is the curved monitor.

He started with a detailed design in Fusion360 that really focused on the tools and techniques that [DIY Engineering] knew would work. The backbone of the device was formed from wooden dowels around which 3d printed parts slid on. To the sides of the dowels, two pieces of acrylic are screwed on to act as an LED diffusor. To that acrylic, two pieces of CNC’d red oak are attached with two arcade buttons for pinball-style actuation. Over the top, cast acrylic was heated and then bent into the desired shape with the help of a two-part mold press. The screen slotted right in perfectly. Part of the display at the top was reserved for a marquee, and the look is extraordinary with the dark acrylic. Ten arcade buttons and an eight-way joystick offer an array of options for input.

Internally, a temperature-controlled fan and a Raspberry Pi are running the show. Controls are wired as GPIO and read by the Pi. So naturally, the games on the SD card tend to look best on a long vertical screen: vertical shooters and the like.

Arguably, the best thing about this project isn’t just the execution (which is fantastic) but the look behind the curtain at the process. So many potential problems were solved in the modeling stage, and fabrication went fairly smoothly as a result (or so we think youtube hides a multitude of sins). The results speak for themselves, and we think this is an enviable arcading machine. [DIY Engineering] has mentioned providing files in the future for you to build your own. If perhaps it seems a little intimidating, why not give a smaller 3D printable bartop a try?

Video after the break.

Continue reading “Bartop Arcade Machine That Isn’t Afraid Of Change”

Coaxcopter To Carry Man

One of the major perks of all the affordable flight controllers and motors available from the hobby market is that you can really experiment with some crazy aircraft designs. [amazingdiyprojects] is experimenting with a coaxial helicopter design, with the goal off possibly using for a manned version in the future. (Video link, embedded below.)

The aircraft uses a pair of coaxial counter-rotating motors with large propellers, with several redundant control surfaces below the propellers. One of the theoretical advantages of this arrangement, compared to the more conventional quadcopter type designs, is redundancy. While a quadcopter will start tumbling when a single motor fails, this design will still be able to descend safely with just one motor.

It is also not dependent on the main motors for yaw, pitch and roll control. In multirotors, the motors need to keep a significant amount of the motor’s available power in reserve to increase torque at a moment’s notice for attitude control. This craft can use all the available thrust from the motors for lift, since control is provided by the control surfaces. There are five sets of redundant control surfaces below the propellers, each set connected to a separate flight controller.

Another advantage of this design is efficient for a given footprint, since one large propeller will always be more efficient than multiple smaller propellers. One of the goals for [amazingdiyprojects] is to fit the full size craft in a shipping container or on a trailer for transport without dissasembly.

[amazingdiyprojects] has built manned drones before, using both electric motors and internal combustion engines. And don’t miss the most gonzo wind tunnel ever at 7:00 in the video below. Continue reading “Coaxcopter To Carry Man”