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Paid gig to make a badge for HS Esports Championships

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  • Paid gig to make a badge for HS Esports Championships

    hey folks.... who is the person i want to talk to if I'm running an event (in this case a HS Esports State Championship) and I'd like to work with a maker to come up with a badge that's got some sort of connectivity/hackability .... no budget for full defcon level, but i have a budget for $5/badge for 500 badges... what can i do for $2500 that'll expose MS and HS kids to some sort IP/RFID/USB/BT hacking type stuff? could also be a JTAG or other interface. I just want a 30-minute activity that every kid in the door needs to do in order to identify themselves in their badge, and a novel way for kids to ID others via some sort of interface. I'd love a scenario where kids can store their various gamertags and discord IDs and share them with others via some sort of interaction with their phones and the badge. I'm not trying to make something clean and easy, I'm hoping to have something that looks more like an Arduino and less like a nice fancy badge that happens to have a RFID tag in there. One purpose of the badges is to sell to education administrators there that the kids are learning STEM, so a funky noticeable badge with ports, wires, etc isn't a bad thing. If you're interested, let me know. Free flight and accommodations to our event inside the US if you'd like to come see your stuff in action.

  • #2
    Hey, I don't see many replies, so wanted to make a suggestion. It's going to be tough making much under $5 at a lower production quantity like 500 and include a PCB run, but there are some projects out there that might help. One I came across looking for 'cheapest MCU dev board' was the Shrimp Kit, specifically aimed at schools. Hackaday covered (https://hackaday.com/2012/11/10/the-...ost-dev-board/) and the Shrimp base kit is covered here (http://start.shrimping.it/kit/shrimp.html). They have some free classroom projects and sponsor some initial bundles, depending on where you are. Someone may be aware of a better option or have time to volunteer free design cycles to create and sponsor a low cost board, but in case nobody else chimes in, this may be a good option to investigate. In terms of user peripherals the kids will enjoy, ie basic displays, piezo speakers, more than one button or LEDs, etc., you may really struggle to get under the $5, so if you can make a few less kits you may be able to add on some big improvements to interaction without a dev environment and cable attached. When you get into RF functionality and the ability for the badges to recognize each at a distance, the antenna and transceiver start to really tack on cost. The easiest might be to get in contact with a distributor/designer/philanthropic group like Adafruit (who may have much better suggestions) and get some Raspberry Pi Zero Ws or something similar. That's getting you into the $10 range though, and not counting the microSDs. Definitely see if you can extend that price range, you'll start getting a lot more if you can price it close to $10 or purchase with someone doing a much larger bulk purchase of components. Good luck, it sounds like a great project!

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    • #3
      You're functionality is reasonably easy to achieve. For hardware hacking at the HS level, I would suggest exposing UART and possibly the programming interface. (You can embed non-program data as clues or challenges to find). An ISP interface is pretty easy, lots of free tools, and there are lots of online resources. For device to-device communications, IR is easy and cheap. It can even piggyback on UART.

      LEDs are cheap. Screens are out of your price range. A piezo is doable but on battery power the choice of piezo will be critical.

      If the goal is a 30 minute exercise, then I'd keep it super basic. Make it possible for the user to customize the LEDs on their badge as a way of personalizing it. Have an IR scavenger hunt, and optionally have a UART station in the scavenger hunt. The other stuff would be for after the event or as a secondary event.

      As "envelope" mentioned, the $5/pc is tougher today due to the chip shortage. A capable ATmega328PB type chip has lots of possibilties but has gone from sub $1 to unobtainium. in all likelihood, a suitable chip - assumig any stock at all - will be $2. Add a battery solution, a PCB, and some components, you are at or above $8.

      The most flexible design could be the RPiPICO ($4/pc) on a secondary board. The PiPICO castellated edges allow it to be soldered to another board as if it were one big component. The downside is you are still outside of your price target and assembly is less automated. He upside is they have something with a lot of possibilities and it will have USB support.

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