As spring slowly slides into summer here in Europe where this is being written, the warm weather is a reminder that on the horizon are the summer’s crop of hacker camps. The largest European one this year will be the Dutch MCH2022 near the end of July, and to whet our appetite they’ve made public some details of their badge. And true to the past form of Dutch camps, it’s rather an impressive build.
Since this is another piece of work from badge.team it has the expected ESP32 module, but alongside it on the elegantly-designed PCB there’s an RP2040 and a Lattice ICE40UP5K FPGA. The ESP is there to run the badge team firmware which even includes backwards compatibility with the original SHA2017 badge, the RP2040 ties everything together and provides a multitude of USB peripherals, and the FPGA is there to run user code. From the front, the badge has a Game Boy Advance-style form factor with a large colour TFT screen and the usual joystick and buttons. Other peripherals include a brace of addressable LEDs, a pair of nifty sensors from Bosch, and a 16-bit stereo audio channel that even powers a small onboard mono speaker when no headphones are connected.
The hardware may be slick, but it’s the badge.team firmware that makes this as special as all their previous offerings. It offers the chance to easily write apps either in MicroPython for the ESP32, or as payloads for the FPGA, and what makes it special is that it comes with an online app store from which all the apps can be downloaded. We’re told that it will be able to run a range of emulators out of the box, so we’re really looking forward to seeing the final version at the event. Meanwhile they’ve released a demo video that you can see below the break, and if you’re curious you can take a look at its SHA2017 badge ancestor.
Continue reading “The MCH2022 Badge Has Landed!”
The pandemic has left my usual calendar of events in shambles this year. Where I’d have expected to have spent a significant portion of my summer mingling with our wonderful and diverse community worldwide, instead I’m sitting at home cracking open a solitary Club-Mate and listening to muffled techno music while trying to imagine myself in a field somewhere alongside several thousand hackers.
As a knock-on effect of the event cancellations there’s another thing missing this summer, the explosion of creativity in the world of electronic conference badges has faltered. Badges are thin on the ground this year, so the few that have made it to production are to be treasured as reminders that life goes on and there will be another golden summer of hacker camps in the future. This year, the CampZone 2020 badge was given its own voice and perform neat tricks like presenting a programming interface via WebUSB!
Continue reading “CampZone 2020 Badge Literally Speaks To Us”
What has 256 full-colour LEDs, everyone’s favorite Lithium battery form factor, wireless connectivity, and hangs around your neck? It’s the CampZone 2019 badge that turns all attendees into a really fun billboard — but can the attendees hack themselves into one massive display?
One of Europe’s larger events for the gaming community, CampZone is hosted in Netherlands and runs from July 26th to August 5th. It’s a typical large summer camp, and caters for those who intersect gaming and hacking with HackZone, a decent sized hacker camp within a camp. I’ve been fortunate enough to get my hands on a CampZone 2019 badge, dubbed the I-Pane, let’s take a look at what they managed to pack into this electronic conference badge.
Continue reading “CampZone 2019 Badge Is Begging To Become A Huge Billboard”
It has been fascinating to watch the rise of the #BadgeLife community in North America, and a little sad when viewed from a European perspective that their creative vibrancy has not quite fully made it across the Atlantic. It’s pleasing therefore to report on something traveling in the opposite direction. We’ve found a #BadgeLife creation that’s as American as they come, but which hides a bit of European flavor under its shell.
The DC27 Multi Pass is a Def Con indie badge themed as a prop from the film The Fifth Element. That is not its only trick though, because under the hood it runs the ESP32-based badge.team, the badge software platform created by the team from the Netherlands who brought us the SHA 2017 and Hacker Hotel 2019 badges. Like those two it sports an e-ink screen and a set of touch buttons, which they’ve very neatly incorporated into the Multi Pass design. The badge.team ecosystem brings with it a fully-functional and stable hackable badge platform with MicroPython apps and an app library (We won’t call it a store, it’s all free!) referred to as the hatchery. There is even a Hackaday logo nickname, should you have one of these badges and wish to identify yourself as a reader.
The launch of a new #BadgeLife badge is always cool, but with the best will in the world it is not in itself news. Where this one does, however, get interesting is that it proves that badge.team is a viable route to getting full event badge functionality into an indie badge without the heartache of creating a software platform. It also serves as a fascinating perspective on why the USA has spawned its artistic badge scene while Europe has less diversity. The whole Def Con experience is extremely expensive, while European hacker camps are relatively not so. There is no need for a European hacker to finance their trip to EMF Camp by selling badges, so for many people, the impetus to create finds its outlet in other directions. It would be nice to think that European badge scene will in time evolve as far as the US one, but meanwhile, it’s good to see the Netherlands community supplying their platform to what we think will be a very interesting Def Con indie badge.
When you go to a hacker conference, you always hope there’s going to be a hardware badge. This is an interactive piece of custom electronics that gets you in the door while also delighting and entertaining during the con (and hopefully far beyond it).
Hot off the presses then is the Hacker Hotel badge, from the comfortable weekend hacker camp of that name in a Netherlands hotel. As we have already noted, this badge comes from the same team that created the SHA2017 hacker camp’s offering, and shares that badge’s display, ESP32 processor, battery, and firmware. The evolution of that firmware into the badge.team platform is an exciting development in its own right, but in the context of this badge it lends a very familiar feel to the interface for those attendees who were also at the 2017 event.
Continue reading “Hands-on: Hacker Hotel 2019 Badge Packs ESP32, E-Ink, And A Shared Heritage”
Electronic conference badges are now an accepted part of the lifeblood of our community, with even the simplest of events now sporting a fully functional computer as an eye-catching PCB on a lanyard. Event schedules and applications are shipped on them, and the more sophisticated ones have app libraries and support development communities of their own.
The trouble is that so often those badges fail to live up to their promise, and one reason behind that stems from the enormity of the task facing a badge team when it comes to firmware for a modern badge. There is some fascinating news from the Netherlands that might reduce some of those firmware woes though, badge.team is a freshly-launched project that provides a ready-made badge firmware with the promise of both stability and long-term support. If you’re making a badge, or even a one-off device using the ESP32, this is a project worth checking out.
Continue reading “Badge.Team: Badges Get A Platform”