[Dan Williams] built a belt that holds up your pants while remembering your passwords. This was his project while camped out at the Hackaday Hardware Villiage at the 2015 TC Disrupt Hackathon last weekend.
The idea started with the concept of a dedicated device to carry a complicated password; something that you couldn’t remember yourself and would be difficult to type. [Dan] also decided it would be much better if the device didn’t need its own power source, and if the user interface was dead simple. The answer was a wrist-band made up of a USB cable and a microcontroller with just one button.
To the right you can see the guts of the prototype. He is using a Teensy 2.0 board, which is capable of enumerating as an HID keyboard. The only user input is the button seen at the top. Press it once and it fires off the stored password. Yes, very simple to implement, but programming is just one part of a competition. The rest of his time was spent refining it into what could reasonably be considered a product. He did such a good job of it that he received an Honorable Mention from Hackaday to recognize his execution on the build.
[Dan] came up with the idea to have a pair of mating boards for the Teensy 2.0. One on top hosts the button, the other on the bottom has a USB port which is used as the “clasp” of the belt buckle. One side of the USB cable plugs into the Teensy, the other into this dummy-port. Early testing showed that this was too bulky to work as a bracelet. But [Dan] simply pivoted and turned it into a belt.
[Kenji Larsen] helped [Dan] with the PCB-sandwich. Instead of mounting pin sockets on the extra boards, they heated up the solder joints on a few of the Teensy pins and pushed them through with some pliers. This left a few pins sticking up above the board to which the button add-on board could be soldered.
To finish out the build, [Dan] worked with [Chris Gammell] to model a 2-part case for the electronics. He also came up with a pandering belt buckle which is also a button-cap. It’s 3D printed with the TechCrunch logo slightly recessed. He then filled this recess with blue painter’s tape for a nice contrast.
[Dan] on-stage presentation shows off the high-level of refinement. There’s not a single wire (excluding the USB belt cable) or unfinished part showing! Since he didn’t get much into the guts of the build during the live presentation we made sure to seek him out afterward and record a hardware walk through which is embedded below.
Teams hacking on hardware won big this weekend in New York. There were ten teams that answered Hackaday’s call as we hosted the first ever hardware hackathon at the Tech Crunch Disrupt NYC. These teams were thrown into the mix with all of the software hackers TC was hosting and rose to the top. Eight out of our ten teams won!
As we suspected, having something physical to show off is a huge bonus compared to those showing apps and webpages alone. Recipe for awesome: Mix in the huge talent pool brought by the hardware hackers participating, then season with a dash of experience from mentors like [Kenji Larson], [Johngineer], [Bil Herd], [Chris Gammell], and many more.
Out of over 100 teams, first runner-up went to PicoRico, which built a data collection system for the suspension of a mountain bike. The Twillio prize went to Stove Top Sensor for Paranoid, Stubburn Older Parents which adds cellphone and web connectivity to the stove, letting you check if you remembered to turn off the burns. The charismatic duo of fifteen-year-olds [Kristopher] and [Ilan] stole the show with their demonstration of Follow Plants which gives your produce a social media presence which you can then follow.
We recorded video and got the gritty details from everyone building hardware during the 20-hour frenzy. We’ll be sharing those stories throughout the week so make sure to check back!
We’re hosting one day of hacking in New York City next week. Stretch your skills with the power of deadlines and you can be immortalized in Hackaday history. If that kind of cred doesn’t do it for you, Hackaday is bringing along $1500 in prizes and there’s another $5000 cash prize at stake as well.
Only Hackaday can bring hardware to the TechCrunch NYC Hackathon on May 2nd. We need you to make it happen. Get your free ticket now (UPDATE: Our special tickets are all sold out but you might still be able to get some in the last few ticket releases. Check back often.). From there join the comment thread on our events page to connect with the rest of us who will be there.
Break the Hardware and Software Divide
Check out these pictures of last year’s TechCrunch hackathon. There’s a ton of people, they all seem to be having fun, but when it comes down to the end, they’re pointing to the screens of their Macbooks. This year you need to break that mold and and rise to the top with a hardware product to hold up as you are awarded TechCrunch’s comically large $5000 check.
Holding a hunk of hardware with electrons running through its veins is way more hardcore than software alone. We will end the segregation of software-only and hardware-only hackathons. After all, most hardware hacks these days are also software hacks. Team up with one of the iOS/Android app groups and add hardware to the mix. We want to see at least twenty of those tables strewn with jumper wires, breakout boards, and soldering irons. And we want to see someone from the Hackaday Community win this thing. So here’s the agreement — we’ll get you in, we’ll bring the hardware, you bring the awesome.
All Work and No Play (yeah right)
Ha! Like that has ever been our mantra. This is going to be a blast and because of it the Hackaday crew is flocking to town from all over the country. Confirmed so far are [Adam], [Alek], [Amar], [Brian], [Chris], [Jasmine], [Matt], [Mike], [Rob], [Sophi], and [Theodora]. We’re there to have fun, and you’re invited.
Most of the crew will arrive in town on Thursday night and we’ll definitely be meeting up. Anyone who registers for the Hackathon is invited for these pre-game festivities. Drop a comment on the events page and we’ll PM you details about where and when. But at the event our collective skills will be available to get your project past the sticking points. Of course we also need many hands to distribute all the swag we’re bringing along.