The Hardware Demoscene of #badgelife


This talk explains the inspiration, goals, design, manufacturing, distribution, and results of the Mr.RobotBadge found at DefCon 25.

The talk begins with a description of the inspiration of the Mr.RobotBadge and my introduction to #badgelife at DC24, where the AND!XOR crew filled up an elevator and the ninth floor of Paris trying to sell seventy Bender Badges to three hundred people. From here, ideas coaleseced into a what eventually became the Mr.RobotBadge.

The design of the badge consisted of an exceptional amount of hand-editing vector art, importing art into KiCad, and again hand-editing vector art. This, along with a relatively simple design using an ESP8266 and a charlieplexed LED driver were the main focus of the design.

Manufacturing was challenging, and not only because firmware development was split between two countries and the fact that UPS is terrible for international shipments. The design of the badge relied on uncommon manufacturing processes, namely multiple colors of silkscreen and a clear soldermask, somewhat of an advancement in the state of PCB and soldermask art.

Distribution of the Mr.RobotBadge was quite simply the most fun you can have in Las Vegas.

This talk will conclude by expanding on the main goal of the Mr.RobotBadge -- expanding the possibilities of PCB art with custom color soldermask and silk -- by explaining the process used for the Mr.RobotBadge, new processes I've discovered/experimented with in the months since DefCon, and some new companies that are now producing custom color PCBs as badges.

Room 107
Sunday, March 11, 2018 - 11:30 to 12:30