Tag Archives: DIY smartwatch

The OwnWatch is a Arduino-compatible smartwatch

Maker creates a fully hackable, Arduino-compatible smartwatch based on the Atmel | SMART SAM D21. 

Moritz Wenzel has emerged once again, this time with the latest iteration of his Arduino-compatible, software and hardware expandable DIY smartwatch. An upgrade of his earlier device, Tardis, the OwnWatch is completely hackable and enables Makers to connect their Arduino projects with both the wearable itself along with its paired smartphone via Bluetooth.


“Currently, every company on the market [has] built their own smartwatch, nice small devices that makes your life a little bit easier and more comfortable. But for a Maker, a hacker, a hobbyist or a nerd who loves hackable devices and creating own projects, these ‘boring’ smartwatches are no real alternative,” Wenzel explains.

For the OwnWatch, the Maker improved upon Tardis’ original housing and its hardware, most notably by replacing its ATmega32U4 core with an Atmel | SMART SAM D21 Cortex-M0+ MCU and providing additional BLE support thanks to a new dual mode Bluetooth module. Aside from that, the wearable is packed with a plethora of sensors, including a gyroscope and accelerometer, three temperature sensors, a pressure sensor and an ambient light sensor.


Meanwhile, power is supplied by a 180mAh LiPo battery, and audio can be emitted through its built-in speaker or a set of headphones. OwnWatch is equipped with two tactile buttons that allow a wearer to navigate through the main menu and switch between various functions like the time, calculator, image viewer and settings, as well as return to the home screen. A pair of programmable indicator LEDs can also be found on its frontside.

Intrigued? Follow along with the Maker’s progress on his project page here.

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.


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.


“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.”


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.

Video: Young boy creates his own smartwatch

Watch-a making? While most kids would just go and ask for a watch, this eight-year-old decided to build one himself.

We had the pleasure of meeting eight-year-old Omkar back at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014. Since then, the young and talented Maker has been hard at work devising a DIY smartwatch, or what he describes as a “precise timekeeper.”


The aptly-named O Watch uses a real-time clock module, a LiPo battery, an Adafruit charger and a Sparkfun Microview, which is a tiny ATmega328P based board with its own built-in OLED screen. At the moment, the device can tell time, day of the week and temperature, yet Omkar does reveal future plans for games, apps, reminders, an accelerometer, GPS, and perhaps even Bluetooth. We’ll let him tell you all about it himself…

Build your own DIY digital watch with Adafruit

Be stylish and on time with this AVR based DIY watch.

Flashy watches seem to be a dime a dozen these days. However, there are some wrist-adorned gadgets that catch our eye from time to time. Added to that list is this latest creation from Adafruit’s Phillip Burgess and Lady Ada herself, which really speaks to our inner geekery. Not only does it look great, but the 8×8 bit matrix watch is super comfortable and versatile with its repurposed silicone band. What’s more, you too can make your own with this new DIY kit.


64 LEDs illuminate the display to notify you of the time in a variety of ways, whether that’s in scrolling marquee and binary fashion. There’s also a built-in battery meter letting wearers know how much battery remains. Impressively, the watch packs 1,000 full-time displays out of a coin battery and over a year’s worth of ‘resting’ lifetime, which allows anyone to use this as a daily accessory.


The wearable device is based on an ATmega328P. As the brains of the timepiece, it is tasked with handling both the display and buttons. The board was pre-programmed at the Adafruit factory to have an Arduino-compatible bootloader and their default watch display code.

Aside from the MCU, the entire build includes the following components:

  • An 8-pin real time clock chip
  • 32.768KHz Crystal
  • 2 x right angle buttons
  • 20mm coin battery holder
  • 0.1uF ceramic capacitor
  • 1 x 10K resistor
  • 8 x 47 ohm resistor
  • 1.5″ 8×8 matrix


Ready to get started? Head over to Adafruit’s step-by-step tutorial here. Those looking to devise their own watch designs can take comfort in knowing that the watch is completely hackable. If you know how to program Arduino, you’re well on your way.

Building a Pro Trinket smartwatch

Don’t feeling like buying a smartwatch or waiting around for Apple’s launch in April? You can make your timepiece instead! 

Maker James Chin has recently been working on a new watch, controlled by a Pro Trinket (ATmega328) and a real-time clock. The DIY wearable is equipped with a potentiometer under the OLED screen and a momentary button to control the watch.


“But what I think is the best part is on the right. There are female headers that allow me to connect multiple ‘modules’ to it, like the LED shown in the picture.”

At the moment, the Maker has included a white LED, a black light LED, as well as with a switch along the side that he used to play Pong. Moving ahead, Chin also plans on adding a TV-Be-Gone, an XBee, an accelerometer, and some analog sensors. Sounds pretty awesome to us!

We look forward to seeing future iterations of this build. Great find, Adafruit!

Build your own Pebble Smartwatch

Why buy the latest smartwatch when you can make one yourself with off-the-shelf components and breakout boards? 

Despite the ongoing craze for wearable technology, most notably smartwatches, a number of young Makers are finding that can sometimes be a bit out of their price range. Rather than having to tirelessly scalvage funds and spend their savings, tinkerers like Jonathan Cook are electing to create their own devices. The aptly named Open-Source SmartWatch combines readily available breakout boards, careful soldering and a 3D-printed frame to make a one-of-a-kind timepiece that displays notifications from your smartphone, not to mention is easily customizable in function and pleasing to the eye. Aside from already being crowned winner of last year’s Arduino Challenge and having garnered “Maker of Merit” ribbons at Maker Faires, Cook recently featured his DIY accessory on MAKE: Magazine.


As the Maker notes, the watch design is pretty straightforward, consisting of four major components housed in a 3D-printed case: a battery charging circuit, vibrating motor for silent alerts, a programmable Microduino Core+ (ATmega644PA/ATmega1284P) with power regulation and BLE connectivity, and an OLED display with push-buttons.


“Breadboarding the project is a snap. Wiring it into a small enclosure meant for the wrist is quite another matter. Break out your fine-point soldering iron and follow these complete instructions.” As for its programmable core, Cook connected the Microduino board to a programming port, a BLE chip for communicating with a wearer’s mobile device, and a voltage regulating circuit.


“A 3.7V 500mAh LiPo battery is wired to a JST connector and a two-position switch. Switched to the right, the circuit is in battery mode. Switched left, it’s ready for LiPo charging via the JST connector.”


Meanwhile, the Open-Souce SmartWatch’s vibrator circuit is comprised of a diode, 1K and 33Ω resistors, capacitor, NPN transistor, and motor. The circuit is then connected to the megaAVR based Microduino, which enables the device to buzz the wrist for an incoming call or alerts. Speaking of which, in addition to the typical time and date functionality as seen on any watch, Cook has sought out to develop an interface that any smartwatch wearer would want such as email access, Facebook notifications, Twitter updates, among a number of other features. Rounding out the design, the Maker implemented an OLED screen and a pair of tiny LEDs that are wired to seven of the digital pins on the ‘duino.


Those interested in learning more about the 3D-printed smartwatch can access a detailed step-by-step breakdown of the build here.

The Nerd Watch is powered by an ATtiny85

This DIY watch displays time in flashing LED binary with the push of a button.

From the looks of CES 2015, it appears that smartwatches will undoubtedly be a mainstay for the future. While a number of consumers await the Apple Watch to debut in March, Makers have decided to channel their inner DIY spirit and create a wrist-adorned timepiece of their own instead — without having to dig deep into their wallets. In recent months, we’ve seen some rather impressive designs emerge, ranging from the Arduino-compatible Tardis to the steampunk-inspired ChronodeVFD.


Added to that list is now Maker Sam DeRose’s latest binary device, aptly dubbed The Nerd Watch. Initially inspired by his dad’s Maker Faire project, the watch displays the time in hours and minutes by flashing LEDs in sequence to denote two 4-bit binary numbers. The wearable was crafted using an OMC Othermill CNC machine, and is based on a few electronic components — most notably the ATtiny85.


“The [tinyAVR] has a program on it which waits for a button press, and when it senses one it grounds several of its pins so that current can flow from +3-volts through the LEDs, lighting them up. The ATtiny has an internal clock, and so the LEDs are programmed to flash to display the time,” DeRose writes.

Time to create a DIY binary watch of your own? You can find a detailed step-by-step breakdown of the project on its official page here.

What time is it? These DIY clocks say it’s Maker time!

It’s the holiday season, and while we surf the web and flock the stores to find the latest and greatest smartwatches, alarms and decorative clocks, some Makers have proven just how amazing handmade timepieces can be. Let’s take a look back at some of our favorite home-brew devices from the last couple of months.

Steampunk VFD Wristwatch


Maker John De Cristofaro devised a rather impressive Steampunk-inspired wristwatch powered by an ATmega88.

DIY Micro Word Clock


Maker Daniel Rojas created his own iteration of Biegert & Funk’s contemporary QLOCKTWO word timepieces using an ATmega328P MCU to power the device.



Maker Moritz Wenzel has developed an Arduino-compatible, software and hardware expandable smartwatch appropriately named Tardis. The ATmega32U4 powered wearable allows Makers to visualize their Arduino projects, as well as connect them with either the watch itself or their smartphone via Bluetooth.

The Clock to End All Clocks


This piece was built to do one thing, display the precise time — no matter the conditions! Maker Brett Oliver’s device is timed off of the DCF77 atomic clock in Mainflingen, Germany, while an ATmega328 interacts with Udo Klein’s new DCF77 library to ensure the incredibly accurate time.

S.M.A.R.T. Clock


Have you ever slept through a crucial meeting, missed a flight or showed up late to an exam due to a faulty alarm? Fear no more as the S.M.A.R.T (Setup for Meetings, Appointments, Reminders, and Tasks) Alarm Clock is here to solve all of your problems! Designed by Adafruit’s Tony DiCola, the Arduino Yún-based (ATmega32U4) DIY gadget provides users with the ability to enjoy a more restful sleep knowing they’ve solved the nightmare of regulating their alarms.

Wake Up and Smell the Bacon!


No, this isn’t a joke. A Maker by the name of llopez2005 has indeed designed an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) based bacon alarm clock for those of us who need an extra incentive to get out of bed in the morning. Apparently, coffee doesn’t work for everyone!

Vacuum Fluorescent Display Clock


Hobbyist electronic shop Akafugu produced a slick vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) clock, powered by an ATmega32U4 and running an Arduino Leonardo bootloader.



Xronos (which originated from the greek word “Χρόνος” which means times) Clock isn’t your typical alarm clock. Powered by an ATmega644P, the device is open-source, hackable and customizable — not to mention is pretty stylish as well!



Designed by Instructables user GodsTale, this DIY open-source smartwatch is driven by an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328) running at 3.3V. Aptly named RetroWatch, the wearable is equipped with Bluetooth, a small Adafruit OLED display and a LiPo battery.

Mini 7-Segment Clock


Kevin Rye recently redesigned his already impressive Mini 7-Segment Clock using an SMD version (instead of 28-pin DIP) of the ATmega328 and a custom PCB.

Retro Moden Nixie Clock


There’s really nothing quite like the comforting glow of a Nixie tube. Reboots apparently couldn’t agree more, as this retro modern (and ATmega48 powered) Nixie clock he designed clearly illustrates.

Game of Life Clock


Inspired by John Horton Conway’s Game of Life, this clock is powered by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) paired with a Chronodot RTC module to assist with accurate time keeping.

Etch-A-Sketch Clock


While Dodgey99 had never used stepper motors or real-time clocks before, that didn’t stop this Maker from creating a really cool Etch-A-Sketch clock, controlled by an ATmega328 based kit.

The Plotclock


Designed by Thingiverse member Joo, the Plotclock writes the time, in hours and minutes, on a white board using a dry wipe pen, before erasing it and starting again. The device is powered by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), while three servos control and manage the movement of its arms. The rest of the clock is comprised of 3D-printed parts and mechanisms, connected by M3 nuts, bolts and thread tape.

Minimalist LED Clock


Maker Chris Gunawardena pieced together quite the nifty minimalist LED clock powered by an ATtiny84 MCU.



A Maker by the name of N.fletch debuted the ChronosMEGA, a beautifully designed wristwatch based on the ATmega328P. Aside from the AVR MCU, its other key specs include binary time encoding (via 10 Blue 1206 LEDs), a slew of buttons to control time, sleep mode and display, a 32.768kHz external crystal and an 8MHz internal clock source.

BTLE Smartwatch


16-year-old Maker John Wall introduced a new version of hs Arduino-compatible, open-source smartwatch. This device, which is described as a Bluetooth 4.0 fitness-tracking device for Android and iOS with a 1.5-inch color OLED display, is built around the IMUduinoBTLE (ATmega32U4).

Designing a DIY smartwatch with Arduino Pro Mini

A DIY open source smartwatch powered by an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328 MCU) running at 3.3v recently surfaced on Instructables. Designed by GodsTale, the RetroWatch is equipped with Bluetooth, a small Adafruit OLED display and a LiPo battery.

Assembly? Bluetooth-> Arduino, OLED-> Arduino, USB to UART module-> Arduino, a button (10k-ohm resistance) and a battery (+) -> RAW, GND -> GND.

On the software side, the watch runs Android 4.3 which supports advanced notification services. Makers will also need to install graphic libraries (Adafruit_SSD1306, Adafruit-GFX-Library) to draw images, shapes and fonts on the OLED, as well the RetroWatch Arduino source code from GitHub.

“You must copy the header file that contains bitmap images to load and use them. You should copy bitmap.h in RetroWatchArduino folder to /Arduino install folder/Arduino/hardware/libraries/RetroWatch. If there’s no such folder, simply [create] it,” GodsTale explained in his Instructables post.

“Open Arduino IDE and load RetroWtchArduino.ino. Next, set pin numbers that you used when you connect the watch. It’s not necessary to modify if you use Arduino pins that are [detailed] in this instruction. SoftwareSerialBTSerial(2,3); // Input your TX, RX pin numbers int buttonPin = 5; // Input your button pin number.”

The DIY RetoWatch features a number of basic modes or displays such as clock, emergency messages, normal messages and idle. Additional key features include:

  • 65 icons
  • Stores 7 normal messages, three emergency
  • Supports RSS feeds
  • Counts unread emails
Clock style can be easily altered
  • 7 hour battery (140mAh)

Interested in learning more? You can check out the official RetroWatch Instructables page here.