The IEEE Builds A Smart Watch
hackaday.com
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It used to be that building your own watch was either a big project or it meant that you didn’t really care about how something looked on your wrist. But now with modern parts and constructio…

It used to be that building your own watch was either a big project or it meant that you didn’t really care about how something looked on your wrist. But now with modern parts and construction techniques, a good-looking smart watch isn’t out of reach of the home shop. But if you don’t want to totally do it yourself, you can turn to a kit and that’s what Stephen Cass did. Writing in IEEE Spectrum, he took a kit called a Watchy and put it through its paces for you.

With its gray-tinted screen, Squarofumi’s Watchy inevitably conjures echoes of the Pebble smartwatch, which made a huge splash in 2012 when it raised over US $10 million on Kickstarter. Pebble ultimately had its lunch eaten by Apple and others, but Watchy is different in a few key respects: It is not trying to be a mass-market device. It is unashamedly for those willing to tangle with code. It’s also inexpensive — just $50 versus the Pebble’s $150, let alone the Apple Watch’s $400 price tag.

See https://hackaday.com/2021/03/06/the-ieee-builds-a-smart-watch/

#technology #hardware #watchy #opensource #smartwatch

Bilb!
44M

If this interests you, you should also be aware of the PineTime smartwatch dev kit: https://www.pine64.org/pinetime/

@onlooker
24M

PineTime is almost the perfect smartwatch for me. It certainly is the one that comes closes to what I want: open hardware, supports open-source systems and knowing Pine64, they will most likely be selling spare parts too, which would be amazing.

The one thing I’m not a fan of is the form factor. Once development is further ahead, I hope they will have a model with a thinner screen, about the width of the strap, along the lines of this.

@kelbot
13M

I plan on getting a PineTime too but it’s not quite what I really want hardware wise.

My ideal smartwatch would basically be a pebble with open hardware and software. I really prefer a non-backlit sunlight readable display and physical buttons.

@marcuse1w
2
edit-2
4M

I have the PineTime and it’s great, although at first open source software support was almost zero it has developed nicely in the past year. For ease of use the USB connector alone can make things so much easier though.

edit: To clarify: The PineTime does not have an USB connector. You have to use the SWD interface What I mean is that Watchy has an USB connector and that can make things easier.

GadgeteerZA
creator
14M

Interesting thanks I will go look in more detail. I was aware of their phone and had only vaguely registered about the mention of a watch.

GadgeteerZA
creator
14M

Looks like the Pine Watch is still in development and no shipping date or retail cost yet. So probably to be watched still until they announce something more definite.

@marcuse1w
34M

The PineTime is available as dev.kit. https://pine64.com/product/pinetime-dev-kit/?v=0446c16e2e66

Means the open source support is not a polished end-user product. Be prepared to at least install the InfiniTime image yourself. This in it’s own is slightly more complex than copying an image somewhere and ready. I would say that in this moment the PineTime makes most sense if you are interested in exploring embedded technology.

Support with tools to develop is available now, but if you don’t want that then I would currently look elsewhere. That said, the PineTime is great to explore embedded programming and has a lively community.

@kelbot
24M

I put my order in a couple weeks ago. Its not a direct replacement for my pebbles but I think it will be fun and interesting play with. Good price point for something like this too IMO. The openness is great so hopefully we’ll see it do some impressive things with some community collaboration.

@qoheniac
24M

Building an open source smart watch is relatively easy. Try to build one with only components without degrading working conditions along the supply chain. Doing research on this task is by the way one of the most efficient ways to learn what a shithole this world is we were born into.

GadgeteerZA
creator
14M

Is that what happened with the components for Watchy? Can you provide any specific details so we are all aware then? Well then they certainly don’t deserve to be promoted at all - I thought it was quite a noble idea actually. Now I’m concerned about them as there was no mention about it in any articles I saw.

@qoheniac
24M

No, it’s not about Watchy specifically, but electronics as a whole. Nearly nobody in this industry cares about mineral mining conditions. For this reason I only buy used electronic devices, but if you build something on your own you cannot buy everything used and for many components it is close to impossible to find a manufacturer that uses materials that were mined under at least somewhat fair conditions. Apart from these general social problems what I like about projects like Watchy is that they increase repairability which is a huge ecological problem especially for wearables.

GadgeteerZA
creator
14M

Ah OK I was worried and do not want to give the wrong impression about Watchy if they have no guilt. Really should start a different topic for that then to focus specifically on that issue and maybe list the guilty parties.

@disrooter
04M

I used to think a lot about the working conditions of those who produced the goods and services I use.

Then I read what happened with Fairphone (in short they offered better working conditions in poor countries but many refused them to work much more and earn a little more because they were induced to a prototype of consumerism) and I started to think.

My conclusion is that it is not possible to give freedom to the people of another country (and to other people in general). Each people must conquer it alone because true freedom is awareness. When freedom is won with pain it becomes awareness and there is hope that it will be passed on to future generations.

The only two things we can give are culture, the one that among other things defines the rights of the human being, and the other is the technical knowledge to free oneself.

Unfortunately the majority of people in more developed countries are losing both very quickly and soon there will be nothing to pass on but we will all have to win it all over again.

@qoheniac
14M

Being able to give freedom would be nice, but not exploiting people and also not supporting self-exploitation is a start, isn’t it? And yes there are people that refuse to work for Fairphone, but others don’t and it’s worth doing it for them and worth for the alternative that is being built practically but also in minds.

@disrooter
-14M

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

The best thing we can do is study the Modern Monetary Theory and make the whole world understand that a sovereign State can guarantee full employment and a full welfare for the entire population.

@Axaoe
14M

Better join the mailing list if youre interested:

Sold out since Jan 14, 2021

https://www.tindie.com/products/sqfmi/watchy/

@Axaoe
14M

Ah thank you! I thought this was a product that was already out of the “pledge” stage and was simply out of stock, appreciate it!

@federico3
-14M

$50 for a smartwatch without useful sensors is not cheap!

GadgeteerZA
creator
14M

Not correct it has 3-axis accelerometer with gesture detection. It has connectivity and can be custom programmed etc so it is certainly a smart watch. Pebble also only had these sensors as I recall and cost a lot more. It’s not trying to be an ECG and health monitor, but that all depends on what modules can be put inside.

@federico3
0
edit-2
4M

I didn’t claim that it has no sensors at all. PineTime provides at least accelerometer and heart rate sensor at half the price! For $50 you can find closed-source devices that also measure blood pressure.

https://pine64.com/product/pinetime-dev-kit/?v=0446c16e2e66

GadgeteerZA
creator
14M

Yes PineTime has a basic heart rate sensor. But we have no idea yet what the cost will be for PineTime as it is not yet available for retail sale.

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