the Adventures of Sara Cladlow

I am Sara Cladlow, a social consultant working in Washington, DC. I provide consulting, social training, and event services for both corporate and political clients. I also accept contracts for security investigations requiring a subtle touch.

The 2023 eChallengeCoin is available in my Tindie store.

The big creative challenge for 2023 - now that we can get chips again - is color ... LOTS OF COLOR! The LEDs are RGB and the PCB is Black, White, Green, Blue, Yellow, and Red !!

If you already have the 2023 eChallengeCoin (or not) and want to read the story, Sara and the Saint is now available online.

More About the 2023 eChallengeCoin

What's New

The 2023 eChallengeCoin has only four touch pads so you will need to think really hard how they are used to solve all of the interactive challenges. The touch pads are huge this year! There are also 4 RGB LEDs which shine through the translucent backshell. The buzzer is all new this year and should be audible for most users, even when running from the coin cell battery. The WAKE / SLEEP feature is a push button on the top edge and the IR transceiver flanks the button. To activate the bonus you point the edge of your eChallengeCoin at another! The serial interface is a staggard pin header with standard 0.1" spacing. The staggard design eliminates the need to solder pins.

The 3 interactive challenges are back but with many twists. At least one is timed so you need to be quick. The traditional SIMON-like game is one of the demos and makes for a fun game (or competition) to play with friends.

The second interactive challenge uses an all new adaptive algorithm to dynamically adjust input timing. This means it will adapt to the user's cadence. Dont over think it! This will make sense when you try it!

Finally, The 2023 eChallengeCoin is slightly larger at 47mm diameter while remaining 6mm thick. The increased diameter is to allow the coin to fill its acrylic case without the traditional spacer ring. This allows the animations demo with the new RGB LEDs to shine right out the side of the case for a mini light show!

What's Familiar

The serial interfaces uses the GND, 3V, TX, and RX pins. (see the diagram for the layout or remove the backshell to see the printing on the PCB) It is set for 9600-8N1. The puzzle may be powered using the 3V and GND pads. It will tolerate up to 3.3V.

The WAKE / SLEEP feature is a button. Press the button to WAKE the eChallengeCoin. Press and hold the button during a demo will put the puzzle back to sleep. You will know the puzzle has recognized the button when all LEDs flash once. Press and hold the button during an interactive challenge's 'clue' phase will flash the LEDs and then immediately skip to the 'answer' phase and wait for the user input. This is helpful when re-attempting a challenge which has a lengthy clue.

Some of the interactive challenges have a long clue. If you already know the clue and just want to skip to providing the answer, you may use the WAKE / SLEEP button as previously described. You will know the eChallengeCoin has detected this when all of the LEDs are illuminated. Once you release the button, the LEDs will go out and the eChallengeCoin will be ready for you to answer the clue.

When the eChallengeCoin wakes, it will show the current status. The status includes which interactive challenges have been solved, which story challenges have been solved, if the bonus has been achieved, and if you have discovered the secret. The status of the interactive challenges is represented by the top right LED. The status of the story challenges is represented by the top left LED. The bottom right LED represents the bonus. The bottom left LED is the secret bonus. A blink LED means the challenge has not been solved.

The eChallengeCoin will go to sleep after a challenge has been completed or failed. It will also go to sleep if idle for 60 seconds. The idle time is extended to 5 minutes when in story mode.

The interactive challenges use a combination of the four touch pads, the LEDs, and the buzzer. The touch pads are labeled A, B, C, and D. They may also be thought of as 1, 2, 3, and 4.

The 2023 eChallengeCoin has another story from the Adventures of Sara Cladlow. Within each story, you are tasked with solving the challenges Sara encounters. The story is accessed through the serial connection on the eChallengeCoin.

The demos of the eChallengeCoin are activated by touching D along with A, B, or C while waking the eChallengeCoin. Once a demo has been activated, it remains active until it is deactivated - even though sleep/wake.

Hints, Clues, and Spoilers

Game #1 Hint:
The challenge is timed and you have 30 seconds to complete it.
Game #1 Clue:
The colors - not the positions - are important when reading the sequence. The pad colors are important when entering the sequence.
Game #1 Spoiler:
Place the eChallengeCoin on a white surface to more easily read the sequence. Write down just G, B, Y, or R as the sequence progresses. Press the pads matching the colors you wrote down.
Game #2 Hint:
Like the Ark, everything is in pairs
Game #2 Clue:
This form of communications was popular by guests at the Hanoi Hilton in the 60's. Match the cadence with your reply.
Game #2 Spoiler:
This is Tap Code. Form the alphabet as 5 rows of 5 columns where 'C and 'K' share a spot. The taps form two numbers, the first is the row, the second is the column. The message is 'SIMON TEMPLAR CAR'. Enter the answer as tap code. The answer is 'VOLVO'. Try to use a cadence similar to the message.
Game #3 Hint:
The color position combinations represent numbers.
Game #3 Clue:
The color position combinations represent numbers. The numbers represent letters. The 'D' is your ENTER key.
Game #3 Spoiler:
Combine A(G=1 B=2 Y=3) B(G=4 B=8 Y=12) and C(G=16 B=32 Y=48). Use the Base64 letters and numbers for the message, '1960s TV Simon Templar'. Enter the answer using the A, B, and C pads. When you have the colors, use the D pad to enter the letter. Continue until you have entered the answer, 'Roger'.
Story #1 Hint:
The card has everything you need.
Story #1 Clue:
The 'Triangle Trade' is a historical reference and 'the 15' is specific to Martinique.
Story #1 Spoiler:
There is a memorial consisting of 15 stone figures looking out to sea. It is called the Anse Cafard Slave Memorial. Any combination of 'Anse', 'Cafard', and 'Memorial' is accepted.
Story #2 Hint:
'Saint or Sint' is not a typo.
Story #2 Clue:
Dany is well know for his barbecue.
Story #2 Spoiler:
'Geheim' is Dutch and Dany's Beach Bar is located on Sint Maarten - the Dutch island paired with Saint Martin. Either 'Saint Martin' or 'Sint Maarten' is accepted.
Story #3 Hint:
Obviously, its a word challenge.
Story #3 Clue:
The text message is in Dutch and contains two clues for parsing the letter grid. Start with the capital letters in the grid.
Story #3 Spoiler:
The letter grid is a Knight's Tour where letters are combined using the possible moves of a knight on a chessboard. The first position is A8 (the upper left). However, every word is capitalized so you can start from anywhere. The message is 'Visit Justine at Foxy Bar Tamarind Bay and say you are an old friend from home.' and the answer can be 'Jost Van Dyke' or 'Saint Thomas'. If you are curious to try to decode the Knight's Tour with software, you can look at this Python script which was used during testing.

2023 eChallengeCoin Introduction

Hardware in KiCAD

As an experiment, the design files are viewable here using KiCanvas.