I'm not at YearlyKOS (although I wish I were); and I'm not at Defcon either. I've never been able to justify going to Defcon, although it sounds fun. This year in addition to the program, the Defcon ID badge looks really interesting.

Last year's badge was a fine piece of round circuit board with the DEFCON SmileSkull and Crossbones cut into it, a bunch of circuitry, two lit LED eyes, a single watch battery, and a toggle switch to make the eyes blink in sequence. If you were really clever, you could hack the code in the badge to blink out your own secret messages …

…The sucker has a Freescale MC9S08QG8 microcontroller and contains a 5 column by 19 row matrix of LEDs to allow user-customizable scrolling text messages. The default message is I (heart) DEFCON 15. Power source is a pair of lithium coin cell batteries.

Touch the top SmileSkull icon and it turns things on. It’s not a clicky switch, it’s a touch switch – major improvement from last year. A second touch control under the rotary dial symbol (and there’s one to explain to your kids about) allows one to type in a customized message.

If that wasn’t enough, the LEDs are also programmed to deliver a persistence-of-vision (POV) secret message if you trigger the proper mode then wave it around in front of your eyes in one direction, kinda like those hand-held trick LED signs people were having fun with a few years ago.

So many conferences, so little time (& money…)

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One Response to DEFCON Badges

  1. kristine says:

    Aw, c’mon, it’s only $100! And you can get some really great Las Vegas hotel deals for weekends. This was my first Defcon, and I had way more fun than I’ve ever had at a conference. I highly recommend it!! Plus, as you heard, you get a great badge out of it! 🙂

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