DEF CON is the biggest computer security hacker conference of the year, and it has a lot to offer. It has security seminars, hacking challenges, hardware and software contests, and a lot more. But, we all know what the best part of DEF CON is: the badges. Custom electronic badges are proof of your hardware skills, and are essential for maintaining your hacker street cred. If you haven’t already made on for yourself, this flying quadcopter skull badge from b1un7 is a really cool option.
The badge’s PCB is shaped like a skull and crossbones, because hackers. The brain of the board is an ATmega32U4 like the one that’s used in the Arduino Leonardo, and which makes it fully compatible with the Arduino IDE. Placed along the crossbones are 16 individually-addressable WS2812b RGB LEDs, and on the face of the skull there is a piezo buzzer and a bank of 6 switches. If you want to wear it as a badge, these give you all sorts of options for creating nifty sound and lighting effects.
But, the real power of the b1un7’s design is the expandability through the Arduino Uno-style headers on the bottom. With those, you can install all sorts of Arduino shields to add even more functionality. For example, you can put on a LCD board for cool animated eyeballs on the skull. The real fun, of course, is if you put a FCU (flight control unit) on. That turns the badge into a quadcopter platform that you can fly around to prove your air superiority.
If you’re enticed by that prospect, you can get a basic badge for $65 on Kickstarter until June 3rd. There are a variety of higher-level options that expand the badge’s capability as well. Rewards will ship in July, so you should get yours in time for DEF CON 26.
UPDATE: The project was successfully funded, raising nearly $20,000 from 109 backers. ☠️