Risks and challenges
While I took electrical engineering as a prerequisite for weapon system engineering, it could be that a 14-year gap may have led to a misunderstanding of the circuit. To combat this, I have been working with some other badge designers through #badgelife to understand best practices for delivery in a stressful environment like Defcon.
The simplicity of design: To reduce my gap in experience, the badge is a straightforward circuit. There are no costly screens or components that can be broken and there are multiple redundancies fixable with a soldering iron and inexpensive parts.
Prototypes: Prototyping is being conducted to conduct robust testing and ensure that the manufacturer can produce the designed badge effectively.
Individual failing badges: We will be able to replace badges that we can not fix and do not work on arrival. We will be testing badges before shipping. While we will make our best effort to fix badges that are broken at either the conference or at Houston hacker meetups, users should be careful with them.
Robustness: This simple circuit will be more robust for surviving Blackhat/DEF CON and is easy to troubleshoot. Hacking and adding on is encouraged but understand that the addon may damage your badge if it draws or grounds too much voltage or amps.
Loss of parts: Many components are very cheap (under a dollar) to replace (or scavenge) if they break. Aesthetics may alter if improperly soldered. The board will be more challenging to fix.
Manufacturing failures: If manufacturing does fail, there are many other PCB providers that we will be able to work with, and we will have to move off the local Houston provider.
Limited Production: Production is limited so that we can provide full funding if some backers abandon us.
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