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Ph0xx: ESP32 Badge Turned Into Robot

Shanghai, China
Sep 30, 2018

With a little bit of imagination and, of course, hacking, your ESP32-powered Ph0xx badge can turn into a bipedal mini robot!

In recent years, there has been a number of high-tech events, where electronic badges are distributed to participants. Two such examples are the ESP32-based SHA2017 badge and the ESP8266-based Badge of the Lands. Badges are a way for hackers and makers to express their creativity. Hence, some badges also function as handheld video game consoles, while others may work as portable hacking stations.

In any case, there are limitless examples of eye-catching designs. The most recent one is Ph0xx, an ESP32-powered badge, which can even be turned into a walking bipedal robot, as Cameron Coward has indicated on the Hackster blog.

The Ph0xx badge was originally created by Wim Van Gool for the Fri3d Camp, a family-oriented hacker event in Belgium. The Fri3d Camp welcomed 600 attendees in mid-August 2018, and every single one of them received their own Ph0xx badge upon arrival. This meant that the cost of these badges needed to be low, without this affecting their overall quality. The first thing one can notice about the Ph0xx badge is the custom PCB which is made to look like the head of a fox. However, this is not just a nice-looking badge with blinking lights.

It is powered by ESP32-WROOM-32 and Espressif donated 700 of these modules to the event organizers to help them create their badges. The Ph0xx badge features two 5x7 LED arrays, an accelerometer, a 18650 battery and charger, buttons, a buzzer, and expansion headers. These headers can be used with the Air jewel, which adds a dust particle sensor and GPS for environmental monitoring. They can also be used with a Bot jewel for the purpose of creating a bipedal robot that can walk around with four servos.

Unfortunately, at this point in time, readers will not be able to get an assembled Ph0xx badge, as this was available only to people who attended the Fri3d Camp in person. However, the building instructions are available on Hackaday for anyone who would like to try and build a Ph00x badge on their own.