štvrtok, 7 decembra, 2023
HomeHome AutomationHacker Lodge 2023 Had A Very Cool Badge

Hacker Lodge 2023 Had A Very Cool Badge

One impact of the worldwide pandemic was that there have been comparatively few occasions in our sphere for a few years. This and that different by-product of COVID-19, the chip scarcity, meant that over the previous 12 months we’ve been handled to a number of occasion badges that ought to have appeared in 2020 or 2021, however didn’t on account of these cancelled occasions. We have been fortunate sufficient to obtain in all probability the final of those delayed badges in mid February, as we made the journey to the central half oft he Netherlands to Hacker Lodge 2023.

A Puzzle, A 4-Bit Pc, And An Art work

The badge takes the type of an oblong PCB with all elements on the highest facet. The brains of the operation is an RP2040, and it’s powered by a CR2032 coin cell in a holder.  It’s divided into two elements, the highest third which carries the circuitry and the decrease two thirds of which as a row of buttons and LEDs. It’s fairly apparent from the beginning that it has knowledge and handle traces of a 4-bit laptop, and in addition to these there may be an evident serial port and a USB socket. The art work comes type the identical artist whose work graced each the earlier Hacker Lodge badge and the MCH2022 badge, and the rear of the PCB makes full use of all layers to create a mystical puzzle. The sum is to create a puzzle sport meant to entertain the customer, take them around the venue, and discover clues to an eventual answer. I like the design each from a creative and technical viewpoint, however need to admit that the puzzle facet isn’t actually my factor. Thus right here we’ll think about the badge {hardware} and manufacturing, and point out the puzzles solely in passing.

A close-up of part of the back of the PCB
The cracked stonework impact within the copper layer is especially effectively performed.

For these within the full story, there’s a badge discuss you possibly can watch on YouTube, which we’ve embedded beneath. The designer [Pim] outlines the early steps earlier than the hammer blows of pandemic and element shortages, earlier than the choice of the RP2040. The artist [Nicolett] goes into the element behind the design, impressed by historic grave markers, and the genesis of the puzzles. The color was chosen as a deep blue, impressed by lapis lazuli.

With a design prepared for December 2021 because the 2022 occasion date in February approached, they obtained one other bombshell; the occasion was as soon as extra cancelled because of the pandemic. This nonetheless left them within the enviable place of getting their badge prepared a 12 months early for the 2023 occasion, with a primary prototype in hand. A 12 months later they have been capable of order the badge manufacturing run, and with a minor hiccup of a misplaced diode footprint they have been able to go along with a full manufacturing run. In observe although, not one of the new badges labored. An emergency parcel from China introduced samples, and after some anxious debugging they discovered their flash chips already contained strings and had been set as read-only. Fortunalely Alnet have been capable of rework them, nevertheless it serves as a lesson for anybody contemplating a distant manufacturing run.

Over the weekend there was a continuing view of members bending over their badges, discovering clues across the lodge, coming into binary code from the occasion lanyard, and even enjoying a serial port textual content journey sport. The members gave the impression to be having fun with the challenges, and I do know that multiple individual solved all of the puzzles and obtained an amulet as a reward.

The thought of a 4-bit laptop on a badge isn’t solely new, nevertheless it makes for an attention-grabbing diversion. I notably like the way in which the copper layer has been used on the rear of the badge to present a cracked stone impact, and as at all times quite a lot of effort went into the design. If I’ve a criticism of this badge it’s that it has little utility past the occasion, nonetheless it stays a sexy piece of art work for members to show. Should you’re excited by delving additional, all the things might be discovered on GitHub, the place we’re additionally promised extra concerning the puzzles.

Now that the lingering results of the pandemic have lifted from the world of hacker occasions, we look ahead to seeing what new badges 2023 brings.



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