Battle Against Wireless Routers with this Altoids Tin Game

Roni Bandini built an ESP8266 game that lets you fight against nearby routers.

Cameron Coward
22 days ago3D Printing / Gaming

Hacking games are a favorite pastime of some geek communities, such as DEF CON attendees. Those games usually challenge players to utilize their various hacking skills and tools in order to crack some system and reach a target. Among hardware hackers, a humble Altoids mints tin is the ideal project enclosure. Just about every kind of circuit imaginable has been shoved into an Altoids tin by somebody at some point. Roni Bandini combined those two and built a game into an Altoids tin that forces you to battle against wireless routers.

This Router Attack game doesn’t require that you do any actual hacking, but it is using real information about the surrounding wireless networks. Each of those wireless networks becomes an enemy in the game, and your job is to destroy a specific wireless router by correctly guessing the information about it. When you select an SSID to attack, it is placed on a grid based approximately on its channel and RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator). You have to guess those values, and a correct guess will “destroy” the router. You get a little bit of leeway based on the security used by the network. So an open network will be very easy to destroy, while a network with AES-TKIP encryption will need to be “hit” perfectly.

The game runs on a Heltec WiFi Kit 8, which is a development board built around an ESP8266 WiFi microcontroller. It has an included lithium ion battery management circuit and an onboard 0.91 inch 128 x 32 OLED screen. Bandini added a momentary button, a potentiometer dial, and a small buzzer. A cell phone battery was repurposed to power the board. All of the electronic components are housed with a spearmint Altoids tin and a 3D-printed faceplate keeps everything nice and tidy. The Router Attack game is pretty simple and likely won’t satisfy Call of Duty fans, but it is a great demonstration of what you can come up with when you have limited hardware.

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