Defcon 18 Badge Hack

So, once again at Defcon 18 I joined up with my friends from Optimized Tomfoolery to hack the badge. And hack we did!

Kingpin has a (not so safe for work) video of our demonstration at the official judging in the Hardware Hacking Village. You can see my Defcon forum avatar badge, my ever present Toughbook, and I’m wearing a t-shirt from the unofficial Defcon shoot.

Our badge hack was a porn theater, complete with sound. The sound was the most challenging part, due to the limited resources of the microcontroller used on the badge. We originally tried a PWM output to generate the sound, but we fell back to a 4-bit R-2R ladder. The sound, as you can tell from the video, is recognizable.

The sound was captured using audacity and lame from a typical example of the most popular internet traffic mpg videos. The sound was sampled at a very low rate in 8-bit as a wav. Using the HexD hex editor, the .wav file was quickly converted to a C include file.

This was a really phun hack project, and one that everyone in our group got in to. ShortGrrl made the anatomically correct wire figures. We glued a badge to a cheap RADio-sHACK audio amplifier as though it were a screen, with wire formed figures sitting on the amp looking at the screen. There was an image utility with the official Defcon badge hack support stuff on the CD. The challenge with the images was finding appropriate (or inappropriate as the case may be) images that would still look good in b&w on a 128×32 display. There were a couple of really good ones. Yes, I have sauce.

I’d love to see an electronic badge return to Defcon, but I understand the reasons why DC19 moved away from that. What I really miss is an uber contest that focuses on my realm of expertise.

For more info on the Defcon 18 badge, see this page at Grand Idea Studios.

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