HaDge - The Hackaday Badge

HaDge - A wearable thing for Hackaday folks.

Similar projects worth following
We're going to build an electronic Hackaday Badge, and by "we", I mean Hackaday community members who are passionate about the project. At its core, this badge is a single node in an Internet of Badges. At every event this badge is deployed at, a Hackaday Sub-Etha mesh network will be created, and each badge will be able to transmit and receive messages from other badge wearers. There are plans for an Sub-Etha to Internet gateway, so even if badge wearers are on the other side of the world, they're still connected through the HaDge network.

We're building a conference badge. No, we're not planning on organizing a Hackaday conference. It's for all the other conferences Hackaday goes to. If you have this badge, you're a member of an elite club, able to socialize in meatspace just as easily as you do here on .io.

A temporary spreadsheet is at this link :

Project chat is here :

View all 11 components

  • Good, Bad, and luckily no ugly

    Anool Mahidharia10/29/2015 at 17:55 2 comments

    We have bad news and good news !

    First the Bad.

    We choose to use the Atmel SAM R21 to power the HaDge. It's one of the new breed of devices consisting of an ARM Cortex-M0 MCU + IEEE 802.15.4 Wireless radio bundled together. This was exciting since we could pack a lot of punch in the HaDge hardware. [Michele Perla] had earlier built a project called JACK – Just Another Cortex Kit – based on the Atmel SAM D21. This device was similar to the R21, but without the Radio. He decided to build a prototype R21 board based on the JACK design. This was the HACK – HackAday Cortex Kit. Building this would have allowed us to get it in the hands of the software team, while the hardware folks worked on the real HaDge layout. [Michele] finished the HACK layout some time ago, and we were looking for help with checking the Antenna design. We asked Atmel for help with verifying the layout. That's when we had the facepalm moment. They asked us - “What about FCC certification?” Since we plan to build the badges in quantities of a few hundred at the very least, it's obvious we cannot escape from FCC certification. A design based around the R21 is ruled out. We'll need to use an off-the-shelf radio module which is already FCC certified. Sigh.

    Now the good news.

    This is a setback in terms of time, and effort put in by [Michele]. But beyond that, we're good to go back to the drawing board and start afresh. First off, we decided to revert back to the Atmel D21. It's a fairly decent MCU, and being from Atmel, there's a fairly robust tool chain available that a lot of people are familiar with. For the Radio, we looked at some of these available options :

    The last one from Microchip looks quite promising. But we're open for better and cheaper suggestions, so please chip in with your comments.

  • some thoughts on the BoM

    Anool Mahidharia08/30/2015 at 18:21 6 comments

    So, over on the group messaging channel, we have been discussing, a lot, about the BoM - the Bill of Materials before we even bring out the notepads to make the schematic sketches. This is important because it helps us to make sure our design will meet one of the main criteria we set forth in the beginning - cost. Here's what I've distilled from all the chatter :

    Microcontroller : After quite a bit of discussion, we finally zeroed in on the Atmel ATSAMR21 - a microcontroller + radio rolled in one. A 32 bit ARM Cortex M0 with a 2.4GHz transreceiver.

    Battery : A 3.7V, approx. 2500mAh battery will power the badge. Estimates tell us the display will gulp about 100mA, and the rest of the circuit an equal amount. This is erring on the higher side a lot, so the battery can be expected to last at least 10 hours on a single charge. Enough to last a whole day before needing a re-charge.

    Display : We looked at e-paper and Sharp memory displays, but will most likely settle for a 2.4 inch, color TFT LCD display with a 320x240 pixel resolution.

    These three are the big ticket items on the BoM. Choosing the cheaper LCD makes sure we limit the BoM cost to around $35. With the e-paper and Sharp Displays, we touch almost $50 on the BoM.

    Besides the above three, the Badge will likely have the following parts :

    Several WS2812B RGB smart LEDs

    A speaker, low profile, capable of playing some low fidelity audio

    Capacitive touch buttons formed using the Hackaday Logo

    A pair of IR transmit and Receive LEDs. These could have several applications - interacting with other badges, allowing programming of badges using blinking clock and data squares on a host computer etc.

    A Li-Po charging regulator

    A buck regulator to produce the 3.3V required for most of the board, and another 5V boost regulator to run the RGB LED's and the OTG USB connection.

    Connectors - Mini or Micro USB, JST for the Li-Po, headers for programming etc.

    Footprints and headers for mounting stuff like LDR / Photo Diode (ambient light sensing), Acelerometer (pedo meter), headers for HC-05, ESP8266, GPS, etc.

    Add in passive components, the PCB, Assembly, Testing and related stuff, and we are pretty close to the $30 sweet spot.

    You'll find the "work in progress" BoM at this spreadsheet link.

    Any thoughts, chime in with comments below.

  • Git repositories created - Hardware, Firmware, Software

    Anool Mahidharia08/24/2015 at 11:02 0 comments

    We've created three separate repositories for HaDge.

    HaDge_HW : for hardware team. Hosts design files - PCB, Mech Cad etc.

    HaDge_FW : for firmware team.

    HaDge_SW : for software team. We foresee we will need some kind of a web interface, for programming the badges (storing hacker ID's, messaging etc.)

    For Hardware, let me know if you are interested to contribute, and I'll add you to the team. We will be using Kicad for the board layout, and most likely FreeCad for the mechanical (housing, 3D printed parts, etc), so if you're good at these, chime in.

    For Firmware and Software, let me know if anyone is willing to take lead of the team. My experience is in Hardware, so it would be more appropriate for someone with the right background to lead the firmware and software development. Send me a private message.

  • We have a name - now let's get crackin'

    Anool Mahidharia08/23/2015 at 11:47 0 comments

    So, based on the poll for names on this spreadsheet , we have a candidate name - The HaDge. This is provisional, unless everyone agrees and it catches on. I'll set up a Git repo soon. There has been some discussion about budget, deadline, features and specifications, and such. Let's lay down the ground rules :


    Let's start with an arbitrary budget of $35 for each HaDge. This should cover most component scenarios. We'll revise it once features and specifications are frozen. Hackaday will be underwriting the expenses towards hardware development.


    This is tricky, so we'll set short term goals for specifics, and a long term one for overall completion of about 6 months. Let's see how things progress. One step at a time


    Based on the stuff listed on the spreadsheet, we need to build up a working Bill of Materials so we can start some initial work. This is our next deadline. By the end of next week, Aug 30th, we need to fix this.


    While this is a community project, it may not be too practical to have a very large development team. We're going to break it up in to Hardware, Firmware and Software. Add your name and your expertise on the spreadsheet. We'll pick up a lean team based on expertise and (time) availability. Deadline for Team formation is Aug 30th.

    Let's keep the momentum going !

  • Getting started - we need a name for the Badge

    Anool Mahidharia08/17/2015 at 17:49 12 comments

    We setup the project a while go, but we're finally getting started now. This blog post sets the ball rolling.

    First off, I'd like to zero in on a name for the Badge project so the Github repository can be created.

    Also, during the next week or two, it would be nice to flesh out the features, specifications and tools that we will use. Chime in.

  • What Is This?

    Benchoff09/17/2014 at 21:16 0 comments

    A Hackaday Conference Badge?

    No, we're not having a con - at least not yet. We go to enough of those already. So many, in fact, that we thought it would be a good idea to have a Hackaday Conference Badge for all the conferences we go to. What is it? What will it do?

    • It's a badge tied to a account.
    • It's a badge with a radio module
    • It's a badge with a LED array/display
    • It's got buttons for UI
    • It beeps and flashes when it's close to another hackaday badge wearer. It beeps super loud when someone on the Hackaday crew is nearby.
    • It has an IR transceiver for sharing contact info.

    So far, it's pretty similar to other conference badges we've seen before. What makes this badge special? If you go to a con that Hackaday is attending/covering, you get one of those sweet virtual badges on you profile. If we're throwing a swinging party in room 812, Hackaday can send out a message to everyone in attendance.

    It's a physical extension of the community, made specifically for hacker gatherings of all types and sizes.

    Read more »

View all 6 project logs

Enjoy this project?



Anool Mahidharia wrote 01/21/2016 at 06:55 point


  Are you sure? yes | no

Mahesh Venkitachalam wrote 12/01/2015 at 12:40 point

@Anool Mahidharia I've been playing around with LoRa, and was wondering if this might be a candidate for the hadge. Microchip is making LoRa modules now. I have their RN2483 module which works at 433/868 MHz and their 915 MHz (for US) module is coming out soon. It has a serial protocol with a built-in uC, and costs about 11 USD:

The other cheaper option is this NiceRF module. Costs about $6, and works via SPI:

I was able to get the RadioHead library working with the NiceRF modules.

So you can have the badges communicate with each other directly, or to a LoRaWAN network (which is more involved).

Just wanted to add that you could interface these modules with the SAMD21 - same chip used in the Arduino Zero, which means you can use the same bootloader. (I am working with this chip currently.)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Craig Hissett wrote 11/01/2015 at 02:28 point

I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out and what it can do!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Peter Hanely wrote 10/28/2015 at 16:03 point

Build a sane network interface into the HaDge and people aren't restricted to a single hardware base.  Any hardware that can talk the right protocol could play along.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Stephen K wrote 10/26/2015 at 14:52 point

Am I the only one that looked at it and thought: Hey, Quadcopter.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Anool Mahidharia wrote 10/27/2015 at 07:26 point

Nope, you're not the first. But this isn't how it's going to look finally. It's just a quick and dirty render that @Benchoff put together.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Atmel Corporation wrote 09/09/2015 at 14:27 point

This. Is. Awesome. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Anool Mahidharia wrote 09/09/2015 at 20:53 point


  Are you sure? yes | no

Kumar, Abhishek wrote 09/10/2015 at 04:07 point
Hey! Glad you liked it; looking forward to your support (in terms of both hardware and software) in this project :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

ben.phenoptix wrote 09/08/2015 at 11:25 point

Would be much improved by the addition of four 6 x 15mm motors (like the Crazyflie). Now that would be innovation in conference badge design. Although mandatory safety specs would add to the BOM cost.

  Are you sure? yes | no

davedarko wrote 09/09/2015 at 14:34 point

would that result in a hovering hackaday logo above the heads of hackers? Interesting. Maybe an rgb LED could also indicate the mood of the hacker.. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Craig Hissett wrote 11/01/2015 at 02:27 point

ha ha!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Anool Mahidharia wrote 09/09/2015 at 20:55 point

rofl, yes, that was a thought some of us had earlier. But this will not necessarily be in the Jolly Wrencher shape. Not too efficient and adds to board cost.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Anool Mahidharia wrote 09/09/2015 at 20:55 point

rofl, yes, that was a thought some of us had earlier. But this will not necessarily be in the Jolly Wrencher shape. Not too efficient and adds to board cost.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Paul Scott wrote 09/07/2015 at 21:41 point

Add in a an NFC chip to accept donations on the fly! ;) BLE would be good too, or a wifi strength meter with an esp8266...

  Are you sure? yes | no

davedarko wrote 08/23/2015 at 15:42 point

awesome name!

  Are you sure? yes | no

RoGeorge wrote 08/23/2015 at 17:00 point

Hackaday Badge? "Hadge"!
Of course, otherwise it would had been "Badaday".


  Are you sure? yes | no

syntroniks wrote 08/18/2015 at 13:11 point

You could attach one of these for a bluetooth low energy link

  Are you sure? yes | no

rscote wrote 08/17/2015 at 18:52 point

Be sure to include extra available pins for us to hack on

  Are you sure? yes | no

RoGeorge wrote 08/17/2015 at 18:16 point

It should be able to display the HAD status of the owner: Followers, Following, Projects, Skulls.
Also, SDR (Software Defined Radio) Rx and a piezo speaker will be nice.

It would be nice if the badge will be not only a badge, but a swiss army knife for an electronics lab, with DDS signal generator, logic analyzer, DMM and so on.

  Are you sure? yes | no

johnowhitaker wrote 08/17/2015 at 17:43 point

Love this idea!!!

  Are you sure? yes | no

AVR wrote 08/16/2015 at 20:43 point

yes, yes, yes, yes, and more yes!!!!!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates