Build yourself a GEMMA-powered buzzing mindfulness bracelet

Inspired by the Apple Watch’s Stand Reminder, Adafruit’s latest wearable project lets you know when it’s time to step away from your desk. 

If you’re like nearly 90% of employees in America, you sit all day for your job. Add to that the time you spend on the couch after work watching TV, reading, playing video games and surfing the web, that’s an approximate total of 13 hours spent each day in a chair of some sort. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little reminder letting us know to take a short break from time to time? That was the idea behind Becky Stern of Adafruit’s latest project: a buzzing mindfulness bracelet.


Powered by the one and only GEMMA (ATtiny85), the band emits subtle haptic feedback as the day progresses, offering a helpful hint to get off your rear and step away from the desk — even for just a few moments.

All too often, we get to the office, start working to look up and find that it’s already five o’clock. Where did the day go? Inspired by the Apple Watch’s Stand Reminder feature but at a mere fraction of the cost, this DIY project enables users to literally feel the passage of time, or at least “have a new awareness of how the perception of passing time varies based on what they’re doing.”


The wearable is comprised of a vibrating motor circuit, which includes a transistor, a resistor and a diode, along with a GEMMA to control the frequency of vibrations. The circuit itself is housed inside a linked bracelet, however as Stern notes, it can be embedded into pretty much anything such as the rubber from a bicycle’s inner tube.

This bracelet is created out of folded figure-8 shapes cut from leather, along with a pair of elongated tabs for its closure. Once the GEMMA is inserted into its resting place, a small hole is poked to make room for the resistor to fit through. From there, a Maker simply needs to solder the electronic components among the loops of the bracelet and voilà!


A user must then plug in the ATtiny85 powered board over USB to load up the code and adjust the timing intervals based on their haptic preference. In this case, the time interval is set to one hour, but can be modified by the user. Although the times are stored in milliseconds, the design does use the tinyAVR’s Watchdog Timer (WDT) to conserve power. What’s also nice is that, since it spends most of the day in sleep mode, the battery lasts for quite a while.

Looking to become more mindful as to how you spend your days? Head over to Adafruit’s step-by-step tutorial here to get started.

3 thoughts on “Build yourself a GEMMA-powered buzzing mindfulness bracelet

  1. Pingback: Build yourself a GEMMA-powered buzzing mindfulness bracelet - Internet of Things | Wearables | Smart Home | M2M

  2. Pingback: Adafruit notes that the Arduino GEMMA is coming soon | Atmel | Bits & Pieces

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