Tell time (and more) on this open source, Bluetooth-enabled watch


WatchDuino2 is an inexpensive, ATmega328 based smartwatch for Makers.  


Last year, Mar Bartolome created an inexpensive, open source wristwatch based on Arduino. The aptly named WatchDuino consisted of an ATmega328, a crystal oscillator, a Nokia LCD screen and a LiPo battery with a life of about a week. As you would expect, the ultimate Maker device displayed the date and time in both analog or digital formats, and came preprogrammed with two all-time classic games, Pong and Snake.

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And guess what time it is? Time for the next iteration of the popular gadget! WatchDuino2 boasts a new and improved design that Bartolome built entirely from scratch, taking some of its predecessor’s best attributes (such as its Arduino Pro Mini core) and combining them with enhanced features, namely Bluetooth. Equipped with a BLE module, the watch can now wirelessly communicate with an Android phone, allowing it to rival the likes of other commercial gadgetry.

Thanks to its pairing capabilities, the WatchDuino2 can share phone notifications (SMS, emails, calls and appointment reminders), access Twitter, Facebook and other social networks, as well as receive weather and mass transit alerts. Aside from that, users can even send battery status updates from their watch to the phone and visualize this information in graph form.

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“The trick is that all of these apps also require an Android component in the WatchDuino Android companion app, doing all the heavy lifting and simply passing WatchDuino the results to display, via Bluetooth,” Bartolome explains.

Additionally, the WatchDuino2 boasts a much better user interface than its older sibling with a 128 x 64-pixel display. Much like any cellphone, a status bar sits at the top of the screen while contextual symbols located on all four corners indicate the purpose of each corresponding button on the side of its case. These functions change, of course, depending on which application a wearer is using.

“For instance, in the main menu you can move left and right, enter or exit,” the Maker writes. “On the Twitter app, you can request a reload, or navigate between tweets.”

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Unlike the first version of the timepiece, the Maker 3D printed a modular strap to house the electronic components — the Arduino, battery, LiPo charger and buzzer/vibrator — within each of its links. This left only the screen and buttons enclosed inside the actual watch case.

As any Maker would say, there’s still plenty of work to be done and revisions to be made. Among those on Bartolome’s list include refining the code and app framework, reducing its form factor and improving its battery life. At the moment, WatchDuino2 can run for about 18 hours after a 20-minute charge.

Think it’s time for an easy-to-build, Arduino-based watch of your own? Head over to the project’s page to get started. WatchDuino2 has also been named a semi-finalist in this year’s Hackaday Prize.

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