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TROOPERS conference badge

Electronic badges are all the rage at IT security conferences these days. I think DEFCON started it all with badges made by Joe Grand, but there have been many others, like the Sputnik RFID tags at 25C3, the expandable bunny badges at Easter Hegg, Munich, by lilafisch and friends, and Travis Goodspeed's badge for The Next Hope.

I created 210 interactive badges for the TROOPERS11 IT-sec conference in Heidelberg last month. They feature some ethereal vintage vacuum glassware - IN-16 nixie tubes made at the Reflector factory in Saratov in the former USSR in 1989. I purchased them new-old-stock from some handy guys in Lithuania.


I've just taken delivery of some special technology from the USSR, via
'friends' in Lithuania. Part of a special project for the TROOPERS 11
IT-sec conference in Heidelberg next week.

I'll be in Heidelberg until the 1st, then I'm heading to Berlin for a few days. Drop me a line if you fancy a bier.

Submitted by jeff on Mon, 03/21/2011 - 17:59. categories [ ]

Finally! Formica Swarm Robot Kits!

Last year, at 25C3 in Berlin, I spoke about our Formica swarm robotics platform. Lots of people asked for a kit, and I told them it would be released "soon". I've received a lot of emails since then asking about the status of the project, and I always reply apologetically saying that I've been awfully busy recently, and we really are getting round to it.

Submitted by jeff on Sat, 10/17/2009 - 03:10. categories [ ]

Vacuum Chamber

I needed a vacuum chamber to remove the bubbles from liquid casting investment.I made it from a 10mm plate of aluminium and a thick glass mixing bowl.


I needed a kiln to fire moulds for lost wax casting. It will also come in handy for other projects - heat treatment of steel, baking electronic components, and any situation where something must be held at high temperature, or under precisely controlled conditions. I could only afford the crappiest of commercially available kilns - no temperature control(!), and pretty weedy looking insulation so I decided to build my own. The weakest point is the thermocouple, which is rated up to 1100C, but I don't think I fancy taking it much above 1000.


A rose engagement ring. Coming up with a design for this piece was quite tricky. I wanted to make something with strong rose influence without being too cheesy. The ring needed to be light and elegant on a fairly small finger, but durable enough to last a lifetime. I came up with some initial sketches, discussed them with the client


and we landed on this one, but without the leaves. 

After an long, winding journey through metal casting, I ended up with this piece. I'm very pleased with it.

Formica at Skycon

I'll be speaking about the Formica swarm robotics project this Saturday at Skycon , the 2nd conference on computers and IT held by Skynet, Limerick University's computer society. If you're in/near Ireland, you should definitely attend. There are some interesting speakers lined up, including Randall Munroe of xkcd ! I'm quite excited, I've never been invited to speak anywhere before. Tickets are on sale now, and are extremely good value.

Submitted by jeff on Thu, 02/12/2009 - 05:01. categories [ ]

Pimp your tiny ride

At 25C3, I met a papercrafter named Magdalena . She had the excellent idea of making the Formica robots cuter through the strategic application of paper hats. Recently, she mailed me these prototypes . Here they are printed, folded and stuck to the tops of the photodiodes with double-sided tape. Genius!

Submitted by jeff on Thu, 02/12/2009 - 04:52. categories [ ]

Fountain Pen Repair

Faye has a nice Shaeffer White Dot fountain pen, and brought it to me with a problem. The gold nib is screwed onto the plastic section assembly ("section" is the name for the part of a fountain pen between the nib and the barrel; the bit one holds when writing) with a few fine threads which had stripped.