We are pleased to officially announce that Hack.RVA will be making badges for RVAsec again this year! In order to be GUARANTEED that you get a cool badge you MUST be registered by 4/1. We spoke with Jamie Duncan about the badges:

(RVAsec) The badges were a huge hit at last year’s at RVAsec. Can you tell us a little about them?
(Jamie) We had an incredible time getting together! Last year was our first effort as a group at a project of that size (we delivered 105 badges that morning!). They were pretty simple devices, with a small LCD and four buttons for inputting text and finding little easter eggs hidden around certain keywords. We had the circuit boards printed up, and then built them out ourselves in addition to writing the firmware that was running on them.

(RVAsec) What did you learn from doing the badges last year?
(Jamie) Time is your greatest enemy. Hack.RVA is an all-volunteer effort that is incredible in the respect that we have a large base of willing people who use these badges and a teaching and learning experience. It can get tricky when the more experienced users have to work late or lives simply get in the way. But that is honestly one of the fun things about hack.rva, or any other Open Source – style project.

(RVAsec) What are the plans for the badges this year?
(Jamie) In a word, Crazy. There is no comparison with what we were able to do last year. We started the design process just after the new year, and have gone through 7 (at least) development revisions and prototypes. We are building them almost 100% in house. We’ll be etching the circuit boards, building and testing the components, and even doing the graphics work to make this year’s badges more easily identifiable. A huge effort, and wrapping it up is going to a blast. Spear-heading our board design has been one of our ‘senior hackers’, Paul Bruggeman. While that has been going on one of our youngest hackers, Morgan Stuart (VCU Senior) has been working on the initial firmwares with Paul’s help (among others).

(RVAsec) Do you plan to make them interactive?
(Jamie) MASSIVELY. This year’s edition will have the ability to send and receive communications, be touch sensitive, and communicate to the world in two completely new ways as compared to last year.

(RVAsec) If someone wanted to hack them, what would they need to do?
(Jamie) That’s the best part. These are designed to be hacked. We want, and plan on you to hack them to do all sorts of things. To get started? Simply plug it into the usb port on your laptop. 🙂

(RVAsec) Can you give attendees any other hints about the badges?
(Jamie) Secrets!? While there are no secrets (these will be fully open source hardware and software projects), we want the users to find all of the little games and tricks and easter eggs we have planned for them. Isn’t that half the fun?

(RVAsec) When do you need to know the number of badges we need?
(Jamie) ASAP. We’ve been spec’ing out prices @200/300. The final BOM has a few tweaks, but it’s close.

(RVAsec) Anything else?
(Jamie) Thanks again to RVASec for allowing a group like hack.rva the incredible fun of essentially doing whatever we want to come up with something awesome for the conference attendees and staff.

Due to the badges be custom made we have to place an order for parts in the next few weeks. In order to be GUARANTEED that you get a cool badge you MUST be registered by 4/1. Yes, APRIL FOOLS DAY. This is no joke–if you are not registered by 4/1 then you run the risk of getting not getting one of these amazing badges. Seriously, last year we had to print up “I registered late for @RVAsec & all I got was this lame paper badge with string”. Don’t be that person.

Thanks to Hack.RVA members for all of their efforts. Please help us in the planning efforts by registering prior to 4/1.