From Roger Cheng on the Hackaday blog:
The security conference LayerOne 2018 took place this past weekend in Pasadena, California. A schedule conflict meant most of our crew was at Hackaday Belgrade but I went to LayerOne to check it out as a first-time attendee. It was a weekend full of deciphering an enigmatic badge, hands-on learning about physical security, admiring impressive demos, and building a crappy robot.
HELLO CONFERENCE BADGE
Immediately upon checking in to the conference, attendees were handed a populated circuit board, a battery, then herded onward so other people can get checked in. This is sheer luxury compared to tales of years past, when attendees were given a blank PCB and a bag of parts. “What does the badge do?” is part of the fun here and served as an excellent icebreaker for us to talk to each other and compare notes. Several previous LayerOne badges were documented on Hackaday.io, but not this one. (Yet?)
The ESP32-WROOM-32 on top tells us it is a networked device. There were only four LEDs on the board, but there is a speaker & microphone module telling us the badge is an aural showcase and not a visual one. There are five controls for human fingers. Three were fairly straightforward: power switch plus “BOOT” and “RESET” buttons. They were accompanied by a button labelled “DO NOT PRESS” (yeah, right) and a button labelled with our first hint: “MR MEESEKS”
Since this is a security conference, some attendees decided a mystery networked device with audio recording capabilities is not something they wanted to wear around their neck. Their badge hack to create a 100% secure IoT device is to not install the battery at all: a 18650 cell that proudly wore its eyebrow-raising name “UltraFire”.
Most of us who chose to install our battery were rewarded with illuminated LEDs. Some were then followed by an audio clip of “I’m Mr. Meeseeks, Look at me!” This announcement would randomly punctuate conference proceedings for the entire weekend.
Those who wanted to dive into the badge headed straight to the Hardware Hacking Village, but there were many other parts to the conference. The largest room was dedicated to security talks given throughout the weekend as well as the Saturday night dinner and game night. One room ran the conference capture-the-flag competition. There was a room dedicated to IoT devices, and a “chill-out” room with games where people could take a break from all of the above. Sadly, I could only be in one place at a time so I chose to check out the lock-picking village.