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Going to the Open Hardware Summit? Don’t Forget Your E-ink Conference Badge

Open Hardware Summit 2013 badge Open Hardware Summit 2013 is coming up in about 6 weeks, and once again its promoters have found a unique conference badge that represents many of the ideals of the conference.

In past years the OHS conference had badges made from Legos (2012) and a stylized badge hanger (2011), but this year they went all out and designed a conference badge based around an E-ink screen.

BADGEr, which you can see in the photo below, is based around a 2.7″ RePaper display made by Pervasive Displays (one of E-ink’s manufacturer partners). It runs on a minimally capable CPU, is powered by a button cell battery, has 5 programmable buttons, and a microSD card for storage.

Open Hardware Summit 2013 badge

The Repaper display has a resolution of 264×176 pixels. It’s the largest of the 3 E-ink screen sizes that Pervasive Display makes for the DIY market and it is supported by open source software.

The BADGEr was developed by WyoLum in partnership with Seeed Studio and Repaper. According to Wyolum, the controller chips and circuit design in the BADGEr are "Arduino compatible", meaning that if you get your hands on a BADGEr you can use Arduino software tools to program it.

But at this point there is little chance that will happen. It’s not available commercially (and there are currently no plans to put it on the market) so if you want one you will need to attend Open Hardware Summit 2013. And you will have to register early; only 500 BADGErs were produced.

Here’s a video showing one of the prototypes in action:

I doubt I will be able to make it to Boston in the first week of September, and that’s a shame. I’ve been wanting a conference badge like this ever since I was in Vancouver for SID Display Week 2013. I was inspired by the DIY kits (based on E-ink screens) on display in the E-ink booth and wanted to craft a custom conference badge.

Open Hardware Summit 2013 badge Unfortunately that project grew too expensive and too complicated for me, so I was pleased to learn that someone else had pulled it off.

And then they added more features.

This conference badge came across my desk today because of a new feature which was just added. WyoLum has created a reading app which runs on the badge.

Assuming anyone wants to read on a credit card sized screen, it’s now possible.

The app, which I’m pretty sure is technically an image viewer and not a reading app, displays page images that have been formatted to fit the 2.7″ screen. Wyolum also posted a copy of Crime and Punishment which had already been converted to run on the BADGEr.

It’s difficult to convey just how much I want to buy a BADGEr, but right now I am seriously considering paying $90 to register for the conference – just to get the badge.

Yes, I am that crazy, but can you imagine how much fun it would be to use this at other tech conferences? It would be the ultimate one-upmanship.


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Justin Shaw July 27, 2013 um 6:16 pm

Hey thanks for noticing the BADGEr! WyoLum was in full force at the Open Hardware Summit last year and we were inspired to go all in this year. This is truly an amazing event and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

See you in Boston!

KarlB July 28, 2013 um 8:53 am

I like the hide-how-bald-you-are feature.

Justin Shaw July 30, 2013 um 6:13 pm

Thanks… I guess it did the trick. Here is the "show-how-unbald-you-are feature".

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