Video: Designing a mesh networked conference badge

Andrew Nohawk recently attended ZaCon V, a free South African security conference. In honor of the event, Nohawk decided to design an interactive mesh networked conference badge.

As HackADay’s Mathieu Stephan reports, the slick platform is powered by Atmel’s stalwart ATmega328 microcontroller (MCU). Additional features include a Nokia 5110 LCD, a 433MHz AM/OOK TX/RX module, a few LEDs and an assortment of buttons.

“The badges form a mesh network to send messages. This allows conversations between different attendees to be tracked,” Stephan explained.

“Final cost was the main constraint during this adventure, which is why these particular components were chosen and bought from eBay & Alibaba.”

According to Stephan, the first PCP prototypes were CNC milled and required quite a bit of soldering to finish off the 77 final boards. Meanwhile, the protocol itself was verified using Maltego.

“Of the 77 badges soldered together (at various stages of ‘full working order’ – especially the BYOB people) the front computer captured 9810 transmissions, 49 badges and 201 different relationships,” Nohwak confirmed in a blog post detailing the project.

Interested in learning more? You can access the relevant code, raw sqlite database and Maltego graphs from GitHub here or visit the project’s official blog post here.

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