Posted: October 30, 2010 in Cons

DefCon 18 Official Badges Click More to view all

posted Jul 31st 2010 9:04am by Mike Szczys
filed under: cons

The details are out for the DefCon 18 badges. The new design has a lot of goodies packed into it, most notably a 128×32 LCD display. You can’t see it in the image above because it’s on the other side of the badge; the ribbon cable passes through a slit in the substrate to reach the connector on the back. The board has a mini-USB connector and is meant to get even the unseasoned novice up and running with some firmware tweaks. The Freescale processor (which is the same chip as last year’s badge) is running a bootloader that can be accessed and flashed using a terminal program. Yeah… impressive.

But it doesn’t stop with the component selection or firmware mastery, these badges are beautiful too. What you see above is the prototype, but the 7780 badges produced come in seven different flavors (as usual), laser etched on a PCB that uses Aluminum as the substrate. Line up all the badges side-to-side and you get a graphic art storyboard. [Joe] outdid himself this year, and he’s been nice enough to share the development details (PDF) which we spent way too much time drooling over.

[Thanks Kim]

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2010 Ninja Party badge

posted Jul 30th 2010 6:51am by Mike Szczys
filed under: cons

Wired took a look at this year’s Ninja Party badges. We were giddy about all the goodies involved in last year’s must-have badge that served as an invitation to the party. It was tailor-made for hacking, including an on-board disassembler. This year’s details are still a bit sparse but the offering is more along the lines of a market-ready product. The badges come in hand held gaming format, with a d-pad and two buttons. They can connect wirelessly with each other and with hidden base stations, allowing participants to fight in the digital realm for LED-indicated achievements. The teaser is tantalizing and we can’t wait to hear details about the real/digital gaming adventure soon to unfold.

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HOPE badge proximity sensor

posted Jul 26th 2010 10:16am by Mike Szczys
filed under: cons

The HOPE conference was last weekend and [Nathan] spent some time with fellow members of Makers Local 256 developing this badge proximity sensor. They took one of the HOPE badges, which have a radio on board for the tracking network, and wrote code for its MSP430 to detect other badges nearby. It uses a Geiger counter they brought with them as an enclosure, re-purposing the analog gauge to reflect the level of active radio signals in the area. You’ll find their demo clip embedded after the break.

If you managed to get your hands on one of these badges, don’t be shy about sharing your hacks. We want to see them.

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Multi-layer display uses water instead of screen

posted Jul 7th 2010 8:40am by Mike Szczys
filed under: consvideo hacks

This multi-layer display uses droplets of water as a projection medium. This way, several different projected areas can be seen for a not-quite-3D layering effect. The trick is in syncing up all aspects of the apparatus. There are three manifolds, each with 50 stainless steel needles for water drop production. A solenoid valve actuates the drops, a camera images them mid-air, and a computer syncs the images of the dots with a projector. In the video after the break you can see the SIGGRAPH 2010 presentation that includes a description of the process as well as action shots including a 3-layer version of Tetris.

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Next HOPE badge hacking primer

posted Jun 22nd 2010 12:00pm by Mike Szczys
filed under: cons

[Travis Goodspeed] is taking a look at the attendee badges for this year’s Next HOPEconference. He’s given us a pretty good look at what is on the board, what it means to you, and how you can get at it. Of course the final hardware specs are a secret until conference time, but this will help you get some ideas and ensure that you bring the right add-on hardware. We normally try not to do too much quoting, but one of [Travis’] statements literally makes us laugh out loud (as opposed to what most people describe as lol):

“These badges are active RFID tags which beacon the position of each attendee a few times a second, so that the god damned devil army of lies–by which I mean the Next HOPE badge committee–can track each attendee around the Hotel Pennsylvania.”

No matter how you feel about the badge committee, the tradition of hacking conference badges is a fun, rewarding, and often frustration past-time. The badges are actually using the concept of OpenAMD. The last three letters stand for Attendee Meta Data which is an evolving concept. How can meta data about attendees be useful to all involved in a non-invasive way? How about associating yourself with a concept, like microcontroller programming. What if you could search to find out where other people interested in that are right now? Could be great… could end up in an impromptu meeting around the restrooms for no good reason. Either way, take a look at the teaser video covering the topic after the break.

Oh, one more note about the hardware. This year they’re moving away from PIC based badges to the more energy-efficient MSP430 line. It’s not one of the value-line processors that the Launchpad is meant for, but this bigger-brother ‘F’ chip will be no problem to work with if you’ve already spent some time with the ‘G’ series.

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BAMF2010: Look sir, droids!

posted May 27th 2010 10:00am by Phil Burgess
filed under: consrobots hacksroundup

Ask any engineer what originally sparked their interest in technology, and almost universally the response will be a Hollywood film or TV robot — Star Wars’ R2-D2, the B9 robot from Lost in Space, or Short Circuit’s Johnny 5, to name a few. Engineers need a creative outlet too, and some pay homage to their inspirations by building elaborate reproductions. At this year’s Maker Faire, droid-builders had their own corner in the center hall, their work ranging from humble craft materials to ’bots surpassing their film counterparts in detail and workmanship.

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Bay Area Maker Faire 2010 video

posted May 26th 2010 6:52am by Phil Burgess
filed under: consroundup

Since the previously-posted stills can’t quite convey the chaos of last weekend’s Maker Faire, here’s some video from the event to help get you through hump day. It’s like three liters of Jolt Cola in a two liter bottle.

One thing even video can’t adequately capture is our gratitude toward our readers at the show who took time to express their appreciation for the blog. You guys and gals rock our world. Thank you!

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Bay Area Maker Faire 2010 in pictures

posted May 24th 2010 2:57pm by Phil Burgess
filed under: consroundup

Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any bigger and crazier, they manage to outdo themselves again. The Bay Area Maker Faire wrapped up Sunday evening, but we have so many story leads that we’ll probably be busy until next year’s event. In the meantime, here’s just a tiny, random sampling of the countless delights that greeted visitors this past weekend.

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Report from ESC Silicon Valley 2010

posted Apr 28th 2010 9:00am by Phil Burgess
filed under: android hacksclassic hacksconshardwareiphone hacksipod hacks,led hackslinux hacksnewsrobots hacks

Ah, the heady aroma of damp engineers! It’s raining in Silicon Valley, where the 2010 Embedded Systems Conference is getting off the ground at San Jose’s McEnery Convention Center.

ESC is primarily an industry event. In the past there’s been some lighter fare such asParallax, Inc. representing the hobbyist market and giant robot giraffes walking the expo. With the economy now turned sour, the show floor lately is just a bit smaller and the focus more businesslike. Still, nestled between components intended to sell by the millions and oscilloscopes costing more than some cars, one can still find a few nifty technology products well within the budget of most Hack a Day readers, along with a few good classic hacks and tech demos…

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Hacking at Random

posted Aug 20th 2009 2:52pm by Caleb Kraft
filed under: consnews


The 20th Hacking At Random has recently come to a finish. For the unititiated, Hacking At Random or HAR is a massive hacker festival that happens every four years in the Netherlands. Four days of technology obsessed hacking with roughly 2500 people definitely piques our interest. The event is riddled with classes and people speaking on subjects such as censorship and robotics. Quickly built networks sprawl across the entire area, with shacks set up for location of servers. We think there should be an official Hack A Day tent there next time. We mentioned HAR when we were talking about impromptu DECT networks and DECT phone modification. Be sure to browse through the multitudes of pictures located on the HAR website.



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