Queercon 14 Electronic Badge

I am involved in the organization of Queercon, a non-profit dedicated to the intersection of the LGBT and information security and technology communities. Our main event is a set of annual programming at the DEF CON conference in Las Vegas.

We designed and distributed around 285 active electronic badges for Queercon 14 (DEF CON 25). I served as the programmer for the project. This year, it was a cube design. Each badge started with one of four icons: air, fire, water, and earth. By connecting the self-mating connectors on the edges of badges together in the right combinations, badgeholders could unlock new icons – 44 in total.

Meanwhile, the Queercon app on attendees’ phones collected data shared by the badges to drive a map of everyone’s progress, displayed on a big monitor in the Queercon suite. Whenever anyone unlocked an icon, it was revealed on the big screen. After about 48 hours of serious work, the final element was unlocked Saturday afternoon.

More details are available at my Bitbucket repository for the badge, or Evan’s comprehensive write-up.


  • Evan Mackay | Hardware
  • George Louthan | Software
  • Jonathan Nelson | Art, UX, and animation design
  • Jake Visser | Phone app integration
  • Michaela Eaves | Art
  • Jason Painter | President, Queercon