Honoring the ’80s, Def Con’s badge is also a text adventure

Enlarge / My DEF CON badge, complete with add-on from the DC801 crew, built by @kL34N and @SirGed. My puzzle quest is far from complete—it may require reprogramming and flipping a component. (credit: Sean Gallagher)

Tymkrs, were elevated works of printed circuit board art with a collection of LED-lit features, including red and green human figures and a color-shifting DEF CON logo. But it quickly becomes apparent that there was a lot more going on here than just blinking lights.

DEF CON alternates year to year between electronic, hackable badges and non-electronic ones; last year’s badges were a throwback design intended to celebrate the conference’s 25th anniversary. But every year, the badges include some sort of clue to a cryptographic challenge—three years ago, the badge was an actual vinyl record that required attendees to find a turntable to hear the puzzle clue.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments