We are a software engineer and a computer science student in Seattle, and this is our first indie badge. We're excited to see what the community thinks of it!
This badge has:
- Bling! Six LEDs (three colors) on the front, plus cabin lights that glow through from the back of the badge.
- Not one but two games! Land the lunar module, or look after the command module while the Eagle makes that one giant step possible.
- Social! The badge will collect game scores from people you meet so you can see how you compare.
- A custom lanyard (of course).
We have a working prototype, with the games and bluetooth connectivity between badges. The badge uses a LIPO battery (lightweight, rechargeable), and an ESP32 microprocessor. There are five buttons for interactive gameplay, and a serial port (microUSB) for charging.
The badge has an extensible framework for creating new games (C++ code and documentation will be available on github after DEF CON 27).
The finished badge will look very similar to the one pictured, with a few differences:
- The screen will be centered horizontally.
- The position of the buttons will be a bit different; our playtesting showed the offsets were not ideal.
- The SAO port on the nose of the rocket will be the new V.1.69bis (SAO.69) standard, which is backwards compatible with the previous SAO standard shown in the prototype. You can use the SAO port to add more bling to your badge, and the new standard means they are more likely to stay attached while you are walking around.
- The prototype is hand-soldered; the shipping version will be assembled using a pick-and-place machine for better accuracy.
You can pick up your badge at DEF CON 27 (see https://defcon.org/ for more information about DEF CON), or we will ship it.
Why this badge?
After being inspired by the #badgelife at DEF CON 26, we wanted to create a badge ourselves. The theme for DEF CON 27 is "technology's promise", and it's the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon. The Apollo program achieved seemingly impossible goals using technology that seems very under-powered compared to today. A badge that looks back at Apollo is timely, and fits with the DEF CON theme. Plus a lunar lander game is very retro, and fun to play.
We started work on the badge in October, and went through several design iterations. The early hardware prototype was pretty simple, and the software clearly needed some work...
We developed the hardware design in December, and by late January we had the prototype working. Since then we added bluetooth support for sharing between badges, and tuned the game play, added the second game... we've been busy.
What is DEF CON?
See https://defcon.org for information about DEF CON, one of the oldest continuously running hacker conventions around, and also one of the largest. This badge is not sponsored by DEF CON.
Risks and challenges
We have a working prototype but we still need to get the badge manufactured at scale. At this stage we plan to get the PCBs made in China, and will assemble in the US. We understand the need for lead-time and we started early to decrease the risks associated with potential delays along the way.
Although we have a working prototype, the badge is a limited edition custom hardware, and there is a risk that something will go wrong in production. The design is based on open hardware designs that have been proven, and we found no major issues with the prototype. There is a risk that individual boards could have manufacturing defects. Some of the components may be faulty, and that can be difficult to diagnose. We will manufacture additional badges to account for potential faulty individual badges.
We will test each badge before we ship it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (20 days)