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Honoring the ’80s, the Def Con’s badge is also a text adventure

Nearly 30,000 people came to Las Vegas last week for the 26th edition of DEF CON, the iconic security conference. And no small amount of the mental energy of that vast crowd was spent on one particular thing: the conference badge.

This year’s badges, designed by Tymkrs, were elevated works of printed circuit board art with a collection of LED-lit features, including red and green human figures and a color-shifting DEF CON logo. But it quickly becomes apparent that there was a lot more going on here than just blinking lights.

DEF CON alternates year to year between electronic, hackable badges and non-electronic ones; last year’s badges were a throwback design intended to celebrate the conference’s 25th anniversary. But every year, the badges include some sort of clue to a cryptographic challenge—three years ago, the badge was an actual vinyl record that required attendees to find a turntable to hear the puzzle clue. Read more at Ars Technica.

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