Build Night: SXSW Conference Badges

For this year’s annual Umbel SXSW Interactive panel sessions and party, Umbel Labs enabled team members to build their own conference badges at Umbel’s onsite makerspace.

For SXSW 2016, we decided to create an Arduino-based badge that drove an animation on an 8×8 LED grid, inspired by the badges used at Hackaday Supercon.

A key component of this workshop – as with many of our Labs’ initiatives – was to get different departments within Umbel working together. Coders teach others to write code. Designers help other team members add some flair.

Numerous designs and animations emerged, including a Texas-themed and broach-style badge attached to one’s clothing by magnets.

Here you can see the final product at our evening party.

As an addendum, here is a throwback to our 2015 badge in which we laser cut acrylic and then backed the acrylic with electroluminescent panel, a phosphorescent sheet that emits light when AC is applied. A key challenge was that unless properly sealed at the edges, el panel can provide a little shock when touched.

If you missed us at SXSW, check out our panel recap videos here.