Erich Styger's Raspberry Pi RP2040-Powered Business Card Is a Real Swiss Army Knife — Literally

Taking the concept to its literal conclusion, this multifunctional business card and name badge will definitely get noticed.

Gareth Halfacree
19 days agoHW101 / 3D Printing

Embedded engineer and professor Erich Styger has decided to build the most feature-packed business card you could imagine — powered by a Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller, capable of wireless data transfer, acting as edge-lit LED signage, and even storing a selection of official Swiss Army knife tools for good measure.

"[This is] a DIY RFID [Radio-Frequency Identification] badge and business card with bling-bling addressable RGB LEDs to impress your customer, clients, friends at work or at a conference," Styger explains of his creation, "packed with electronics. Plus it includes 10 original tools from Victorinox, the manufacturer of the Swiss Army knife."

The heart of the business card, which doubles as a badge holder, is a Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core microcontroller on a custom-built PCB. This, Styger explains, can be used as both a development board for running custom firmware and as a USB flash drive with 1.5MB of storage — easily enough to include a digital copy of your contact details, CV, or even a small portfolio of work.

The circuitry is also linked to addressable RGB LEDs, which light up etched acrylic — with a second cover design allowing the business card to sit flat on a desk and light up a second piece of acrylic, turning it into LED signage. For those who prefer wireless information transfer, the card also acts as an RFID tag: scan it with a reader, such as a smartphone, and you'll get the user's full contact details.

That's an impressive list of features already, but Styger decided to go one further — turning the usually-figurative term "Swiss Army knife," used to refer to something jam-packed with functionality, pleasingly literal. "[An] optional insert is the possibility to add one of the five available Victorinox Swiss Cards, basically a Swiss Army knife as a business card," the engineer explains. "The card slides out like any other add-ons on the back."

Styger's full write-up is available on his website, while design files and source code have been published to GitHub under the BSD Three-Clause license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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