OpenAMD at CCC Camp: “We totally need these stinking badges!”

Welcome to the future. OpenAMD (Attendee Meta-Data) combines an RFID location tracking system with social networking, and we’re looking to deploy at CCC Camp 2011. You might have seen the project either as the location tracking badge at 2600’s HOPE 2008 and 2010, or as CCC Sputnik in 2006, 2007, and 2008. This time we have a lot of new improvements, and need your help to make the project happen.

For those unfamiliar with the concept: imagine you enter a conference, and put on your OpenAMD badge. Suddenly, you can see yourself on a screen, a dot (or avatar) on a map, moving around in real-time, just like the Marauder’s Map from Harry Potter. Next, you can log into the social networking site, create a profile, and watch as your personal information turns into a dynamic visual. We can do amazing things with this: tell how many people in a talk like “lockpicking” at any given time; suggest talks you might like, based in your interests; allow you to connect with people who have similar tastes, or have been to similar talks; and much more. Really, we are only limited by your imagination.

And that’s just the software side. For hardware hackers, the badge is totally hackable. As you can see in the video, there will be a row of blinky lights you can program to flash cool patterns, and even do persistence of vision effects. The schematics are online, and the software is completely open source. As you can see in the photo, the badge has built-in USB. The idea here is that someone with no experience can download the programming software for free, plug their badge directly into their computer, and hack on their firmware live. We will have lots of documentation, and are happy to teach people all about it.

Future of OpenAMD
Beyond Camp, we’re also exploring creating a kit that will allow people to set up an installation at their own hackerspace (or wherever), to promote using this technology beyond just hacker conferences. We want to see what kinds of cool things everyone will come up with, and will be making a big announcement soon about a semi-permanent installation in the United States. Imagine being able to go to your hackerspace, create a visual, and then watch it work live. We started this community outreach at The Next HOPE with the public API (we’ll be releasing an updated version soon), and the semi-permanent installation will allow people to tinker with all parts of the project, as well as work out any bugs to reduce technical difficulties at future conferences 😉

To make this happen at Camp, we need your help. We have launched a kickstarter (, as a way to help pay for the badges and let people guarantee they get a badge at the Camp; if you cannot make Camp, we will even send you a badge once Camp is over. We’re trying to raise the minimum cash needed, as we are supplying all the infrastructure ourselves; and we need to meet our goal ($12,000) by May 1st, otherwise we won’t be able to bring this to Camp.

Hackerspaces Challenge
To make this more enticing, we’ve decided to give back to the community even more: once the kickstarter is successful, as a backer you’ll be able to enter your hackerspace in the form when you enter your name, and the hackerspace that raises the most funds for the project will get their logo featured on the badge lanyard at Camp. Consider this a big thank you from us for helping the project be excellent.

If you have any questions or comments about the project, please check out, or email