Whiskey Pirates once again provided an excellent electronic badge for DEF CON 29. This is of course unofficial, but it is certainly the hottest custom bling list so far this year.
I couldn’t go to the scam in person, but the Pirates still sent one of the badges to check it as soon as possible. It’s very beautiful, and staring at the circuit board makes it easy to think that the shortage of chips on #badgelife is not a problem. But this is only possible because of some very creative parts procurement and a lot of inspirational design work.
I usually start with a hardware overview, but come on, this thing looks spectacular! Let’s talk about aesthetics. This is one of the more exquisite appearances of the hardware badge, similar to the Queercon 15 badge using the PCB panel and the back, separated by side-light acrylic. [TrueControl] Sandwich the PCB between two acrylic plates, one as a panel with etched and semi-transparent areas, and a transparent back plate to bring the side-emitting RGB LEDs where you can see it.
There is a black rectangle at the end of each crossbone. At first I thought these were some kind of infrared reflective sensors, but they were actually button caps. It seems that they are cut out of acrylic, and their thickness is exactly the same as the panel. They are closely connected to the momentary button switches on the board.
These hats look great. But this function is a bit rough, because the switch travel is very shallow. I did pop one of them accidentally, probably because it was pressed too tightly on one end. A little glue has fixed it.
The OLED display shines through the forehead of the panel. The badge acts as a brand name and can be customized from the menu.One of the nice feelings is [TrueControl] Using his fancy firmware technique again, tilt the letters of your name to match the angle of the badge. Very slippery!
Disassemble the hardware
You have to look carefully at the filler sheet ambitiously, as it is usually covered by acrylic sheets and AAA battery holders. After desoldering and removing the Torx head screws, we got a very beautiful assembly board.
We found some creative parts sourcing here. The main chip is a GigaDevices GD32VF103 (PDF data sheet), it is a RISC-V core (not to be confused with GD32F103, it is an ARM Cortex-M3). [TrueControl] It is speculated that this may be the first #badgelife project with a hardware RISC-V kernel-the 2019 Hackaday Supercon badge It has a RISC-V software kernel running on FPGA.There is also a PDK13 (one of the Padauk chips-take a look [Jay Carlson’s] The guide we recommended not long ago), and there is an 8051-based USB chip (CH552T PDF data sheet) Debug near the bottom of the circuit board.
There is a hard power switch on one side. I also found two top-down USB ports next to the battery holder. I tried each of them; one enumerates and powers the badge, the other does not enumerate but does power the badge. When probing on the serial port, I saw characters echoing, but other than that, I didn’t explore much.
The two RGB LEDs that make up the eyes seem to be flickering, and I suspect that some data transfer is taking place there. If you look closely at the circuit board near the bone button on the lower right, you will find the traces of two pads, and the cutout on the panel clears the way for it. This may be some type of light sensor, although it may just be an infrared LED, because I want the receiver to have three legs.
There is another trick here, which is how to buy OLED screens cheaply. Looking closely at this, you can see the tricks that allow the tail of the header to be bridged to certain pads on the PCB. These modules are cheap and abundant, but have you tried purchasing bare screens and placing your own components to drive them?
Another great product from Whisky Pirate
The most important aspect of making hardware badges is easy to find in this one: passion. Damn epidemics and chip shortages, [TrueControl] Executed on great ideas and completed this on the finish line. The electronic design is quite interesting, and the appearance achieved reaches a level that everyone will like.
The packaging comes with multiple versions of panels. I am honored that he took the time to engrave my name on one of the three plates. Look at that part of it-it doesn’t end with etching, the letters are filled with white paint to make them stand out.
If you participate in DEF CON 29 this year, please pay attention to those who wear these. That was the crew of the Whiskey Pirates, it was great to hang out with them. Hope I have the opportunity to do this again at DC30!