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Everything about 2020 has been turned upside-down and inside-out πŸ™ƒ Feels like the last normal (and awesome) thing that happened was LCA2020. Wow ... that was a good time πŸŽ‰

The Open Hardware Mini-Conference (OHMC) team was keenly looking forward to LCA2021. We have very fond memories of the Arduino MiniConf in 2013.. We did a road-trip from Melbourne, the LCA2013 venue at the ANU was excellent and we were looking forward to visiting Canberra again. Sadly, LCA2021 was postponed 😒, but then went virtual πŸ€– ... and then a surprising thing happened ... the LCA2021 organizing team reached out to us and asked if we'd like to consider a special project 😲

Melbourne was deep in CoVid-19 isolation πŸ€’ and the opportunity to start a new hardware project for our friends at LCA was just the shot-in-the-arm that we needed πŸ’‰ The LCA2021 organizing committee asked us to prepare a proposal for a conference hardware badge that could be manufactured and sent to a limited number (200) of LCA2021 attendees as part of the swag in time for the conference. So we did. They accepted ! And so the #swag-badge was conceived !!

We've been thinking about an LCA badge (well, more than just thinking !) for years, perhaps going back to LCA2012 in Ballarat (another one of our favorites) and the LeoStick swag.

Now, since it costs nothing to make additional copies of software ... the number of badges was bumped up to 300 πŸ€–πŸ€–πŸ€– ... (we predict some late nights assembling, flashing, packing and posting) πŸ™„ Not wanting anyone to miss out on the fun, Alec came up with the idea of the #dag-badge (a simple BoM) that anyone can order for themselves immediately and join in the fun, leading up to LCA2021 and beyond πŸš€

Unfortunately, the traditional LCA Open Hardware Mini-Conference morning workshop assembly madness won't be happening, but maybe we could still switch it up and figure out a way to involve everyone and perhaps encourage some collaboration and contributions. Something different from what we've done before (which was hacking frantically in our respective caves until the morning of the OHMC) ... something like ...

- Develop the #swag-badge hardware in the open ... we'll show the journey, the highs 🎒 and lows 🀯 of delivering a hardware project

- Develop the #swag-badge software in the open ... encouraging collaboration and contributions πŸ§ͺπŸ’₯

- Provide several SAO connectors (power, I2C and a couple of GPIO pins) ... so that you can create and share your own custom hardware add-ons to the #swag-badge

- Provide a simple "store" where people can upload and download simple application examples

  1. TODO: Include renders
  2. TODO: Links to resources, e.g PCB and firmware
  3. TODO: What now ?

The first 300 people who sign up for the virtual LCA 2021 conference will receive, as part of their registration, a Swag Badge! (until we run out of stock) Please note: The badge will be only available to Australian participants, due to the cost and delay of shipping internationally.

No ordinary badge, this one is full of extensible, open hardware, ready to be loaded up with whatever software and hardware takes your fancy!

The open hardware miniconf team are putting together a badge that will be:

  • a custom-designed, super slick PCB
  • powered by an ESP32 which gives us wifi and bluetooth connectivity
  • not one, but two delightful displays (OLED)
  • ... which doubles as buttons
  • ready for development with microPython,
  • supported by an open sourced embedded network framework, the Aiko Engine!
  • with a number of SAO connection points so you can extend and add on your own hardware componentry

We plan to post the badges before Christmas so you'll have your badge before LCA even begins, and a stunning memento of your participation in the conference in 2021.

But wait, there's more! In the true spirit of LCA, we want the capacity of the badge to be truly open. We'll be following up with more information about how you can join in with other swaggerbadgers to build out ideas for doing wonderful, magnificant, incredible... stuff! <your idea here> ... with the SAO headers.

Follow along with the work from the OHMC team as we prepare, plan, design and build your badges. We'll be putting in updates here from time to time.

Want to stay in touch? We hang out on Twitter at @swagbadge2021