Put open source to work
July 16–17, 2018: Training & Tutorials
July 18–19, 2018: Conference
Portland, OR

One-off wearables: The Linux steampunk conference badge

Rob Reilly (Rob "drtorq" Reilly)
11:00am11:40am Thursday, July 19, 2018
Edge computing
Location: E146
Level: Intermediate
Average rating: **...
(2.00, 2 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Do-it-yourselfers, makers, hackers, hardware people, and developers who want to get into hardware

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of the Arduino platform, the Raspberry Pi, and Linux
  • Fabrication experience (useful but not required)

What you'll learn

  • Learn what's possible with current off-the-shelf parts through a demo of a Linux steampunk conference badge
  • Understand that it's OK, and even desirable, to build outlandish, gaudy projects that attract attention
  • Demo the latest tech


Rob Reilly demonstrates how to combine Linux, physical computing, and practical application into an attention-grabbing, steampunk-themed, wearable conference badge. Rob walks you through the motivation, idea generation, research, prototyping, build, challenges, and use. You’ll learn the nuts and bolts of building an interesting, robust prototype embedded Linux gadget from off-the-shelf parts and discover the logistics and time and effort needed for version 1.0.

The badge incorporates a recent microcontroller module, a 3.5-inch color TFT LCD showing videos, and a custom brass steampunk-themed frame to hold it all together. There’s also a secondary Arduino that handles analog and near-real-time sensor processing from its multiple light, temperature, distance, and other sensors that feed Python scripts and can be connected to the internet. mplayer handles the video playback in badge mode, and LibreOffice manages the slides in presentation mode. The device is WiFi-capable.

And watch for it: Rob will wear the badge into the session and then use it to run his tech-talk slide presentation.

Photo of Rob Reilly

Rob Reilly

Rob "drtorq" Reilly

Rob “Dr. Torq” Reilly is an independent consultant, writer, and speaker specializing in Linux, physical computing, hardware hacking, the tech media, and the DIY/Maker movement. He provides a variety of engineering and business services to individual clients and companies. As a veteran “how-to” guy, Dr. Torq has authored hundreds of feature-length articles for top-tier tech media and print outlets and presented tech talks at conferences and industry venues such as OSCON, FETC, Fossettcon and the Embedded Systems Conference. His Off-the-Shelf Hacker column runs weekly on thenewstack.io. Rob holds a BS in mechanical technology from Purdue University. He first used the Unix command line in 1981. Contact him at doc@drtorq.com or 407-718-3274.

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Picture of Rob Reilly
06/28/2018 8:34am PDT

I’m looking forward to sharing my latest Steampunk Conference Badge, with everyone at OSCON. Feel free to ask me questions about the badge or any of my other projects. I write a weekly column called “Off-The-Shelf Hacker” at thenewstack.io. I also have the drtorq.com web page, with some pictures of my gadgets.