Electronic badges have exploded in popularity in recent years. So, naturally, we feature many of them here on the Hackster blog. But because the origin of the badge life is rooted in security conferences, most of them have very geeky themes. While we appreciate fandom as much as any tech blog, that does mean that a lot potential themes get overlooked. Weddings, for example, tend not to be the focus of many badges. But Maarten Tromp wanted to make a great gift for his friends’ wedding, and so he designed these bride and groom badges.
All badges need blinking lights, and these are no different. Each badge has a total of 24 NeoPixel-style WS2812B individually-addressable RGB LEDs carefully arranged to highlight the silhouettes of the bride and groom. Those are soldered on to custom PCBs that were designed in KiCAD and then fabricated by DirtyPCBs. Tromp originally tried to design the PCB in gEDA, but found that KiCAD worked much better when routing the traces on the boards.
Tromp considered using an AVR microcontroller to control the LEDs, but ended up using an ESP32 module instead because the groom works for Espressif and Tromp wanted the badges to be hackable. The ESP32 is powered by a 500mAh LiPo battery through a TP4056 LiPo-charging circuit, which was good for more than six hours of operation. Finally, for programming via USB, Tromp used the popular FT232 USB-to-serial converter chip. With the PCB silkscreen highlighting the bride and groom, these badges turned out beautifully and were a hit at the wedding.