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  • David Dolan


DEF CON 27 with Zebbler Studios

DEF CON 27's theme was The Promise of Technology, and with that we got these crazy quartz badges designed by Joe Grand! Lucky for me, inspiration from art at DEF CON China created an opportunity to collaborate with Joe.

While finishing up other work for Zebbler and the conference, Joe reached out about making badge interaction happen with an existing projection map install. This is less than weeks from hacker-camp, and with no official green light. Joe and myself decided take things as far as we could on our end, and have something ready in case this became a go!

On the right is the human badge we used to obtain packets from attendees. It's connected to a logic level converter and and FTDI x USB chip. Those boards ultimately got housed in the actual "reader" box pictured below. The reader is just a serial peripheral, dumping NFMI packets via UART.

Our projection software, Resolume, listens for a type of UDP packet on its network called OSC. The glue between the visual software and the reader was a Raspberry Pi running a service that looked for the reader, and passed OSC packets to the network that our visuals sat on. Based on packets received from a consistently in range badge, the readout from the badge would project on the display below.

Design and fabrication happened on location. And final testing with all the badges didn't happen until the night before the conference. Below are all the pictures I have of this project coming together.

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