September 30, 2015 AT 1:00 am

New Parallax Badge Gets a Zombie Makeover #WearableWednesday


Last week I was lucky enough to attend the Open Hardware Summit in my hometown of Philly. The first thing I did was make a mad dash looking for an electronic badge. Luckily I found it at the Parallax table and Ken Gracey himself quickly programmed it for me. We shared our love of geek badges and then he explained why this particular badge is such a big deal. This one is supposed to be the universal badge hackable for any conference. Could this mark the end of my E-badge collecting?

As you can tell by the size, there is a lot happening here. There is a contact management system that allows you to send your key info by pressing the Open Source Hardware symbol (nice touch).  You know you’ve successfully exchanged info by the flash of RGB LEDs surrounding the main display. Those same LEDs are also used in one of my fave applications—the accelerometer. There’s also an A/V jack and plenty of room for prototyping. Programming can be done with various Propeller options or the C Simple IDE.  So, here’s where the fun comes in, according to Hackaday Mark Riley has already developed a zombie apocalypse game called IRZombies. It uses the same IR tech from the contact management system.

Upon receiving the badge, the user chooses to be either a zombie or survivor. Pressing the resistive buttons attacks, heals, or infects others over IR. The game is your standard zombie apocalypse affair: zombies infect survivors, survivors attack zombies and heal the infected, and the infected turn into zombies.


So, while this badge may mark the end of my collecting, it may start a mashup of fun things like open source, tech conferences and gaming. That’s right, I’ll be fighting for the survivors in this zombie game, so y’all best get your badge on. Seriously, this badge does offer interesting programming possibilities and I can’t wait to see what other hacks get posted. If you are a Parallax fan, you should know that we also carry a few of their products in our shop including this Propeller Activity Board. It’s got the microcontroller, built in breadboard, XBee socket, microSD cardholder, audio jack, 3-pin headers…yeah, you get the idea. You can plug almost anything into this burrito. So, have fun experimenting and get ready for the next Open Hardware Summit.


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