I’ve seen mention of Geek or Nerd merit badges before, but now Adafruit will be providing some limited edition merit badges to show off your skills. The soldering badge pictured is first in the queue. Future plans include badges for Arduino, LEDs (with conductive thread and working LEDs), Open source hardware, and Laser cutting. Given the number of creative minds that contribute to the community I’m sure there will be many more.
All the designs will be released under a creative commons license so you can always make your own. I’ll have to check back in a week for the final badges. I have been trying to think of something cool to engrave on the lid of my netbook and this might just be it.
The Science Creative Quarterly has also published a number of badge designs and offer them up free in exchange for attribution. My favorites are the "I build robots" badges. I’m currently working on level 3 but hope to attain level 4 some day.
I suspect that Adafruit may have got the idea from Nerd Merit Badges. Two designs are now available, the first was an Open Source badge. To qualify you should make an accepted commit (or patch) to an open source project. The recently added Inbox Zero badge requires an empy inbox, 71.4% of the time. While I don’t have that metric handy, I think there is a good chance I qualify. It might be time to write a script to keep track of my inbox count.
As with many internet memes, this one appears to have started with Worth1000. For some inspiration check out the Real Life Merit Badges Series of contests. Warning: Some content on Worth1000 may not be suitable for all audiences.