2018 Open Hardware Summit badge

Notes from the presentation by Drew Fustini (@pdp7) on the OHS18 badge at the Alternative Computing Club meeting in Chicago


What is #BadgeLife?

Screenshot from 2018-11-17 13-56-50

Motherboard article: “A History of Badgelife, Def Con’s Unlikely Obsession with Artistic Circuit Boards”

Badgelife documentary by Hackaday

2018 Open Hardware Summit at MIT


Here is my brief overview of the badge on stage at the Summit:

Hackaday.io project for the OHS18 badge

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OSH Park and Screaming Circuits produced an electronic conference badges for the 2018 Open Hardware Summit. Hardware design by Alex Camilo based on concept from ESP trINKet by Mike Rankin. Features for the OHS18 badge: ESP32 microcontroller with built-in WiFi; E-Paper to display the badge wearer’s name; badge wearer can update the displayed text from phone, tablet or laptops. Powered by 2x AA batteries.

This project was developed by a team of wonderful people that came together on Hackaday.io, in particular, this badge could not have happened without Alex Camilo and Michael Welling!

OHS18 Badge documentation website


OHS18 Badge: MicroPython documentation

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OHS18 Badge: Accelerometer demo


OHS18 Badge: Magic 8-Ball MicroPython game

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Python REPL using the serial port


To use the interactive Python prompt (REPL), press the menu button on the badge and select Serial REPL from the Available Apps menu.  The terminal emulator connected to the serial port should then display the interactive Python prompt (REPL).  You can type in MicroPython code to experiment.

MicroPython WebREPL

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he 2018 Open Hardware Summit badge runs MicroPython firmware which allows for an interactive programming experience known as the REPL:

Getting a MicroPython REPL prompt

REPL stands for Read Evaluate Print Loop, and is the name given to the interactive MicroPython prompt that you can access on the ESP8266. Using the REPL is by far the easiest way to test out your code and run commands.

There is an USB-to-serial adapter board which be used to access the REPL on the badge via the serial port.  However, a simpler option is to use the WebREPL:

Learn to Solder add-on board

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The OHS18 badge also features the DefCon 26 #badgelife add-on header.  Andrew Sowa designed this OSHWA-themed Learn to Solder add-on board to connector the badge add-on header:

#badgelife add-on adapter for Adafruit LED matrix 

Programming jig to flash 300 badges

Alex Camilo created this wonderful programming jig!  Drew was able to use it to program all 300 badges and provision the names of the 150 people that pre-registered in time.  Thanks so much to Artisan’s Asylum makerspace near Boston for giving us a space to work on the badges before the Summit!

Brian Benchoff writes on Hackaday:

The Exquisite Badges Of Open Hardware Summit

The boards were made through OSH Park, and Screaming Circuits took care of the assembly. Anyone who has ever built a badge will tell you it isn’t the assembly that gets you — it’s the programming and provisioning. This is especially true since the Open Hardware Summit badge is distributed with the attendee’s names already preloaded. That’s a few hundred badges, all with unique firmware. This is a nightmare by any definition.

However, there’s always a good solution to a problem, and [Drew] from OSH Park showed me the best programming jig I’ve ever seen during the Summit pre-game at Artisan’s Asylum.

What you’re looking at is a 3D printed box loaded up with a touch-screen display, a Raspberry Pi Zero W, and a few pogo pins. This Raspberry Pi does all the heavy lifting by connecting to the Internet, pulling down the current version of the firmware, and loading that firmware onto the badge. There are a few more options thanks to the touch-screen interface, including provisioning all the badges with the names of the attendees — this can be done by reading a list of attendees and uploading the next one to the badge in the jig. All of this is wrapped up with a nice laser-cut cover that securely holds each badge exactly where it needs to be for the pogo pins to make contact.

This is, without question, the best programming jig I’ve seen. Any badge makers out there should take note: this is how you program a few hundred badges. The badge, itself, is great and just as this post is published there will be hundreds of eager hackers futzing about with this remarkable piece of hardware. If you want to check out the current progress of the badge hacking, check out the updates on Twitter

Lesson Learned:

  1. Badges should have built-in USB port:
    • USB connector makes it easy to multiple volunteers with laptops to flash firmware onto the badges in parallel, versus having just one programming jig
    • USB connector makes it easier for people attending the Summit to experiment with modifying the firmware and developing their own functionality
  2. Pretend that the deadline is 1 month before the event
    • We originally had the goal of being ready on September 1st for the September 27th conference, but we allowed ourselves to push the deadline for final firmware release to the day before the Summit.  That meant staying up all night to flash the updated firmware on to the badges
    • We should have identified the minimum feature set and simplified the functionality sooner in the design revision process
    • We should have planned that we would have 3 hardware revisions and allowed for it in the schedule

Bonus Material:

Video: E-Paper under microscope!

Video: solder paste reflow!

2018 Open Hardware Summit badge

Drew talks OHS18 badge tonight in Chicago (Nov-16)

Tonight, November 16th, at DePaul’s IRL makerspace in Chicago, Drew Fustini be speaking about the Open Hardware Summit badge and Rudy will be speaking about the Thotcon badge:

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Chicago game developers and hackers! Come on out to our first meeting at the DePaul University Idea Realization Lab. We’ll have a few short presentations from local developers on the platforms and controllers they’ve developed, followed by an open show-and-tell and gathering for people to talk about current, past, and future projects.

Short Presentations for our first meeting:

Rob Lockhart – Hi-5 Heroes, featured in GDC’s alt.ctrl (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fwRGkLwh_sk)

Drew Fustini – Open Hardware Summit badge development (https://hackaday.io/project/112222-2018-open-hardware-summit-badge)

Rudy Ristich and Jay Margalus – Thotcon 0x8 and 0x9 games and conference badges (http://jaymargalus.com/thotcon-0x8-badges/)

Drew talks OHS18 badge tonight in Chicago (Nov-16)

Hardware Happy Hour Chicago tonight (Nov-15)

Join Drew Fustini TONIGHT for Hardware Happy Hour (3H) Chicago at Haymarket Pub!

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Hardware Happy Hour Chicago tonight (Nov-15)

Lightsaber Uses Pogo Pins to Make Assembly a Breeze

From  on Hackaday:


Lightsaber Uses Pogo Pins to Make Assembly a Breeze

There was an endless supply of fantastic projects at Supercon this year, but one whose fit and finish really stood out was [Scott]’s lightsaber. If you were walking around and saw someone with a very bright RGB device with a chromed-out handle hanging off their belt it was probably this, though it may have been hard to look at directly. On the outside, the saber looks like a well-polished cosplay prop, and it is! But when Scott quickly broke down the device into component pieces it was apparent that extra care had been put into the assembly of the electronics.

Like any good lightsaber replica the blade is lit, and wow is it bright. The construction is fairly simple, it’s a triplet of WS2812B LED strips back to back on a triangular core, mounted inside a translucent polycarbonate tube with a diffuser. Not especially unusual. But the blade can be popped off the hilt at a moments notice for easy transport and storage, so the strips can’t be soldered in. Connectors would have worked, but who wants flying wires when they’re disconnecting their lightsaber blade. The answer? Pogo pins! Scott runs the power, ground, and data lines out of the strips and into a small board with slip ring-style plated rings. On the hilt, there is a matching array of pogo pins to pass along power and data. The data lines from all the strips are tied together minimizing the number of connections to make, and the outer two power rings have more than one pin for better current-carrying capacity. A handy side effect is that there is nowhere on the blade where there aren’t LEDs; the strips go down to the very end of the blade where it meets the main board inside the hilt.

Scott is selling this as a product but also provides detailed instructions and parts lists for each component. Assembly instructions for the blade are here. The hilt is here. And pogo adapters are on OSH Park here. An overview of the firmware with links to GitHub is here. Check out a walkthrough of the handle assembly and blade attachment after the break!



The Tinusaur Project: Updated User Guides

We have updated the user guides for how to assemble the Tinusaur Board, Shield LEDx2 and Shield EDUx4IO. They are all in PDF format and are available at the following links: Tinusaur Board 3 – Assembling Tinusaur Shield LEDx2 – Assembling Tinusaur Shield EDUx4IO – Assembling The collection of user guides is at tinusaur.org/guides. Our plans are, […]

via Updated User Guides for the Main Board, Shield LEDx2 and EDUx4IO — The Tinusaur Project


#badgelife add-on adapter for Adafruit LED matrix


Adapter board to attach Adafruit 8×8 LED Matrix board as #badgelife add-on (using the DC26 SAO 2×2 pin header)

KiCad design files:

OSH Park shared project:

#badgelife add-on adapter for Adafruit 8×8 LED matrix

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Order from OSH Park

MicroPython support:



#badgelife add-on adapter for Adafruit LED matrix