It's the Badge That Made the Kessel Run in Less Than Twelve Parsecs!

A cool conference badge that pays tribute to the Millennium Falcon.

Tom Fleet
2 months agoBadges / Hardware 101
Badge development

The badge design/demo-scene community is known for producing some really cool PCB-based art. From simple two-tone mask / silkscreen "passive" art, to the other end of the scale, with conference badges running *nix kernels on FPGA fabric softcores, there's always something interesting going on badge world.

The most recent one to catch my eye was this year's badge design for InCTF, from team @bi0s: a striking recreation of the Millennium Falcon of Star Wars fame.

The Falcon, piloted by Han Solo and Chewie, is the only ship to have "made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs!" Ignoring the fact a parsec is a unit of distance, that's a pretty impressive claim, and the @bi0s team have gone to lengths to ensure their PCB tribute is equally as impressive.

Specifications

Designed using PTH components, the badge can be pre-assembled with a minimum of tooling, or, alternatively, would make a great kit for people looking to practice soldering. In fact, team bi0s commented:

The experience of creating badges turned out to be an internal workshop for everyone to learn soldering at bi0s.

And we're sure everyone who assembled one of these was pleased with the reward of their own digital Falcon.

  • An ESP8266 NodeMCU dev board provides WiFi capabilities.
  • An on-board 128x32 pixel OLED display allows for detailed user interaction via two pushbutton switches.
  • 16 x 5mm blue LEDs are interfaced through a 74HC595 serial shift register.
  • A light dependant resistor, and curiously, a lensed laser diode are also found on board. This is explained when we look at the associated firmnwre builds the team has created to run on a badge.

What good is a spaceship without lasers, anyway?

We take a quick peek at the board layout, the reasons behind the laser diode and LDR become more apparent, the initial badge firmware is able to sense the intense light of a rivial Falcon badge laser via the LDR, and alert the user to take evasive action, or similar.

One can envision that there could potentially be a firmware contest to impliment a laser tag scoreboard! With the right modulation, and the ability to connect to a WiFi network to log data, a conference leaderboard could make for some great fun for the duration of the event!

A rich out-of-the-box experience

In addition to the initial firmware of the badge, there are four other firmwares that users can load onto the badge. Details of the firmware builds below are taken directly from the project GitHub page.

falcon-fire.bin
A version of the 80s Asteroid Game.
final-unlocked.bin
Firmware with unlocked LEDs and defence against laser attacks.
game_of_life.bin
A version of Conway's Game of Life on Falcon.
initial.bin
The basic firmware everyone's badge was loaded with.
serial-exploitation.bin
Firmware that was designed to teach you serial exploitation.

Firmware sources are also available for the Arduino environment, under which the badge was developed.

The team have produced a writeup for the badge project on their blog, here and project sources can be found on the team bi0s GitHub page here.

Tom Fleet
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