Tag Archives: Smartwatch

New TomTom Spark GPS fitness watch is powered by Atmel

TomTom Spark GPS fitness watch features music, GPS, 24/7 tracking, extended battery life and robust capacitive touch buttons.

A few weeks ago, TomTom unveiled its brand-spanking new Spark GPS fitness watch lineup at IFA 2015. Most notably, one of the company’s biggest pushes with their latest lineup is music, boasting 3GB of memory (enough for 500 or so songs) which allows wearers to store their favorite workout tunes and play them on a pair of Bluetooth headsets.


Not only that, the Spark features a completely redesigned look and feel for ultra sleekness and optimal comfort, in comparison to previous devices. The watch offers a larger and enhanced screen, as well as a variety of colors and strap options.

Putting the music aside, the Spark does just about everything else you’d expect an all-day monitor to do. It counts your steps, tallies calories burned and even captures activities in various modes — whether that’s riding a bike, running the treadmill, jogging a long distance or simply doing some bench presses at the gym. But unlike every other wrist-adorned unit, this one actually even shows you totals towards a weekly progress level.

The Spark family ranges from a simple barebones GPS and sleep/activity-tracking model to one with all the bells and whistles. Additionally, the top-tier watch is even equipped with a heart rate sensor that rivals the likes of other big names in the market. And it should go without saying, each of the wearables include 24/7 GPS tracking.


Inside is where the magic happens, though. The TomTom Spark GPS fitness watch is powered by an Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex-M7-based MCU along with the mighty tinyAVR44A. Plus, the recently-revealed gadget employs Atmel’s QTouch library software to control the sleek touch interface in the 8-bit MCU. The combination of these ultra-low-power processors extends the battery life of the wearable to up to 10 hours in GPS mode.

“We are thrilled that TomTom has selected our ultra-low-power ARM- and AVR-based MCUs to power the main processing unit and touch interface,” says Alfredo Vadillo, Atmel Vice President of ARM-based MCUs. “We look forward to supporting this project and to collaborating on future designs.”

Intrigued? Not only should you head over to TomTom Spark’s official page to learn more, you may want to check out this exhaustive review from DC Rainmaker as well.

BLOCKS is the world’s first modular smartwatch

This future-proof, interchangeable device will be the last smartwactch you’ll ever need.

For quite some time, modern-day gadgetry has taken a one-size-fits-all approach. Though many different sensors can be embedded in our devices, space is always the limiting factor. This leads designers to select features that they feel are right for “everyone” and forces consumers to compromise on what they want from their equipment. Fortunately, this may be a thing of the past thanks to one UK-based startup who wants to do the same for wearables as Google’s Project Ara has set out to do for smartphones.


In effort to provide you with a smart accessory that reflects your individuality, BLOCKS is the world’s first modular smartwatch that enables you to customize your timepiece to best suit your needs and lifestyle. No different than LEGOs, simply choose your modules and connect them together in seconds to bring a plethora of capabilities to your wrist.

As with any watch, the face (or Core) is at the heart of the wearable. It’s completely functional on its own and has all the features you would expect from a good smartwatch, like phone notifications, activity monitoring and voice control, and boasts a round, full-color touchscreen. Inside you’ll find a Snapdragon 400 processor, Wi-Fi and BLE connectivity, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of Flash, an accelerometer and gyroscope, a 400mAh battery, a microphone and a vibration motor. In the future, the team says it will offer a few different cores with varying displays, such as e-ink and rectangular screens.


The Core is attached to a strap comprised of several intelligent links, each of which possess their own functions and are embedded with an ARM Cortex-M0+ MCU. This includes everything from an NFC component for contactless payments, to an extra battery for prolonged battery life, to a GPS piece for tracking your whereabouts and activities, to a Flash memory module for extra storage, to a camera for quick photos, to even GSM/SIM card slot for phone-free operation. The power is in your hands, or wrist we should say, allowing you to choose the building blocks that you want in assembling a smartwatch that’s just as unique as you.

“The Modules listed are the first of many, and were selected based on popular choice. As new technology becomes available, we’ll be developing new Modules for you. You don’t need to choose the Modules you want immediately when you back us; after the campaign, we will get in touch to ask what combination of Modules you’d like,” its creators reveal. “BLOCKS is all about choice. We want to be able to provide you with as many Modules as possible so that you always have access to the latest technologies.”

What’s nice is that a module can be swapped out in a matter of seconds, without ever having to restart your watch. Whether it’s throwing on a battery if you notice that your smartwatch is running low on power or fastening on a heart rate monitor as you head off to the gym, snap it on and it’ll work right away.


The device runs on its own platform, which will be opened up to developers so that they can create and sell their own modules on what the team calls “the BLOCKStore.” Moreover, BLOCKS is compatible with both iPhone and Android smartphones, including those from LG, Motorola, Sony, Samsung, HTC and Xiaomi.

Intrigued? Then watch-a waiting for? For its Kickstarter debut, BLOCKS is available in 3 different colors — black, white and red — and made from a high-quality, durable, comfortable and water-resistant plastic. The first batch of units is expected to ship in May 2016.

Unique can turn any watch into a smartwatch

This strap discretely adds smart features to any ‘dumb’ watch.

Smartwatches are pretty useful — but despite advancements in technology, a lot of us still value the look and feel of a traditional or classic timepiece. If you wish you could keep your Rolex watch yet also have some of today’s connected features, the makers of Unique have good news for you.


The brainchild of Polish startup uBirds, Unique is a luxury, handmade strap that replaces your watch’s original strap and transforms it into a smartwatch. It gives you the best of both worlds — the look of your favorite wrist-worn accessory with all the capabilities of modern-day devices.

Hidden in the strap lies a discreet multi-color LED, vibration alerts and gesture recognition, allowing you to receive notifications, reject calls, send pre-written texts, monitor your fitness, store your passes and even be reminded if you leave your phone behind. On top of all that, it can all be customized to a wearer’s liking.


With cutting edge technology, Unique integrates electronic components into the strap so the functions aren’t visible on the strap itself. What’s nice is that the unit still fits nicely with any conventional timepiece, meaning any treasured heirloom or precision chronograph can be turned into an IoT-friendly gadget. Leveraging gesture recognition, users can now control their phone directly from the strap, as well as integrate near field communication.

Once connected via Bluetooth, users can configure their strap’s capabilities and displayed information using its accompanying app. According to its creators, this includes everything from programming the NFC tag with your business card, hotel room key or gym membership to tracking fitness goals and counting calories with every step.


As for battery power, Unique can run for two to three days with frequent use. Charging is simple, too — just give the watch strap a boost using its included wireless inductive charger. Interested? Then it’s ‘time’ to check out their Kickstarter page, where they are currently seeking $50,000. Delivery is slated for sometime in April 2016.

DECKO is an LED watch that bares its parts on a circuit board face

This 60-LED watch may be the geekiest timepiece ever. And we love it.

Aside from the pocket protector, the wristwatch has become a staple for any true geek. And we’re not just talking about any ordinary wrist-adorned device, it has to be unique — the dorkier, the better. So whether you’re a businessman, an athlete or an engineer, anyone looking to show off their geekery will surely love the latest creation from Terminus Electronics: a wearable that displays time using LEDs rather than the typical pair of rotating hands or digits.


Dubbed DECKO, the half-dollar-sized watch reveals the time by animating 60 LEDs on a circuit board face. Admittedly, it is as basic of a “smartwatch” as they come with only a few features like motion and tap detection for wake-up, and light sensing for auto-brightness. Unlike most of its teched-out counterparts, however, the device boasts a low profile and can last for six to 12 months on a single coin-cell battery.

In order to tell time, the hour winds from 12 o’clock around to the current hour, while the minute hand animates in place after the hour hand stops. This allows both the hour and minute to be distinguishable even when they overlap.


The low-power timepiece sleeps to save power when not in use, and wakes up when put into the usual horizontal viewing position. The watch can also be turned on and off by double-tapping the side of its case.

Time set mode is accessed with a quadruple tap of the watch, while a subsequent tap is required to start the process. This will cause the minute hand to begin rolling like a marble around the clock. From there, the time can be adjusted by simply rolling your wrist forward or backwards, and locked in by holding it steady.


An interesting feature of the DECKO is that it not only shows the time but how its embedded electronics work. Based on an Atmel | SMART SAM D21 MCU (which could be found the center of the face), the watch packs a 32 kHz crystal oscillator to keep time, an accelerometer to detect orientation and movement, and a light sensor to measure ambient light. The electronics are soldered to the board and housed inside a rugged metal case that is available in aluminum (black or silver) and brass.

What’s more, the wearable is water-resistant and fully customizable. The case fits standard 18mm NATO and ZULU straps, enabling you to mix and match various styles — ranging from steampunk for Maker Faire to patriotic for 4th of July celebrations. DECKO is available in a caseless version as well, which gives Makers the choice of designing their own enclosure for the inner PCB face.


Does this look like a watch you’d love to have? Head over to DECKO’s Kickstarter page, where the team is currently seeking $60,000. The first batch of devices is slated to begin shipping in November 2015.

ReVault is the world’s first wearable private cloud

Not just a smartwatch, ReVault lets you back up and access your files on the go.

We know, we know, another smartwatch? But before you say anything else, this wearable band has a rather unique feature. Not only can it reveal the time, it can impressively act as a wireless storage device that lets you back up your files and open them without ever needing an Internet connection. Think about it, in this day and age of multi-screen use, everyone has data that they want to access to on all of their gadgets. And sure, many of us tend to employ popular services like Dropbox or OneDrive to accomplish this; however, local storage happens to be a bit more secure.


Cognizant of this, one Swedish startup has set out to make the private cloud a little more personal and portable with ReVault. Currently live on Indiegogo, the Atmel | SMART SAM4S powered gizmo is being billed as “the world’s first wearable private cloud” that enables users to securely access and sync all of their files. Instead, the wearable drive connects to a laptop, smartphone or tablet over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.


Not only does ReVault allow wearers to easily carry their most important documents wherever they go at all times, but once connected, it can be set to automatically back up and synchronize those files across all devices via its accompanying app. This application is available on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, meaning it should be pretty simple to pair data despite the platforms one may use.

ReVault has been designed with the utmost security in mind, and rightfully so. We are talking about personal and sensitive information here! This was accomplished through AES-256 encryption, as well as two-factor authentication. In other words, only trusted devices and users can connect to the wearable unit.


Aside from safeguarding data, the watch has been created with superior durability to withstand the inevitable bumps and scratches of everyday use. Equipped with a stainless steel and water resistant case, the full-color display is protected with Gorilla Glass 3. A wearer can also choose between a variety of faces, including one for private cloud data, a digital or analog clock, as well as a custom screen built with the ReVault API. Though the battery only lasts for approximately three days, ReVault can be charged using a standard Qi wireless charger — 80% battery life takes roughly an hour, while 100% calls for just about an hour and a half.


ReVault comes in both 32GB and 128GB models. What’s more, for those who aren’t really into the whole “smartwatch thing,” it can be transformed into a necklace or keyring using its chain converter. Is it time to reclaim your data? Then hurry over to its official Indiegogo campaign, where the team is closing in on their $65,000 goal. Shipment is expected to begin in January 2016.

Swimmo is the ultimate smartwatch for swimmers

Swimmo a new smartwatch designed for continuous use underwater.

While countless wearable devices have been introduced with hopes of revolutionizing athletic activities, from the court to the field, not so many have taken to the water. That is something the company behind Swimmo is hoping to change. For instance, how often have you forgotten the number of laps you swam during a training session, or wished to surpass a personal best and then instantly share it with your friends on social media? That will all be possible thanks to the latest smartwatch designed specifically for continuous underwater use.


Swimmo itself is a sleek, aesthetically-pleasing and comfortable band equipped with a color OLED display that is 100% waterproof. What’s more, the wearable boats a unique “Rotate&Tap” patent-pending technology that allows a swimmer to control the watch using two simple gestures — no gaps between buttons that might let water in.

The device works by monitoring a swim session in real-time and providing immediate feedback to the trainee, helping them to efficiently achieve their results. The device comes with training apps to track performance in the water, such as a heart-rate monitoring IntensityCoach, a speed focused PaceKeeper, and an overall performance gauge TrainingGuide. It will measure total distance in laps, yards or meters, analyze calories burned, and keep tabs on the length of a training session as well. Swimmo will even alert a swimmer with vibrations when it’s time to increase or decrease their speed to better improve their strength by exercising at the right intensity.


Aside from being compatible with other fitness apps, such as RunKeeper, Strava and HealthKit, it also syncs with its own mobile app (available on both iOS and Android) via Bluetooth Smart. Unlike a number of other smartwatches already available today, Swimmo’s basic features can be accessed without having to pair with a phone at all. In an effort to make swimming more social, the gadget enables users to compete with their friends and others nearby through Facebook and Twitter.

Intrigued? Swim on over to its official Kickstarter page, where the team is currently seeking $39,000. Shipment is expected to begin in October 2015.

Build your own Moto 360 smartwatch with Moto Maker

It’s time to create a watch that suits your style. 

Back in 2013, Motorola launched an innovative web portal, Moto Maker, that enabled users to personalize their own Moto X smartphone. Nearly two years later, that made-to-order feature has now expanded to the company’s Moto 360 smartwatch, which led sales among all Android Wear devices over the last 12 months.


Moto 360 customization options include three different finishes (dark metal, light metal and champagne gold), nine separate band styles (including leather, metal and a slick mono-link design), as well as 11 pre-installed watch face options. Once you get your device, it’s easy to swap watch faces from its collection or through Google Play. This is great news for those simply looking to coordinate with their outfit, or dress it up a bit for a more professional or formal setting.

Without question, it appears that Motorola is looking to take advantage of the Moto 360’s popularity by extending the customization of its flagship product. And given the rise of the DIY culture and their fascination with modularity, having the ability to create something in line with one’s own style is pretty cool. For those with a little fancier taste, both the gold and metal bands come with a premium price of $30 and $50, respectively.

Light Finish Case with 22mm Cognac Leather Band

With countless combinations available, there’s a watch that can appeal to every type of personality. In fact, wearers can create their own as well as choose among some of Motorola’s pre-configured samples such as “Professor Hip” with a light finish case and a cognac leather band, “Golden Goddess” with a champagne gold finish case and cognac leather band, and “On-the-Go Stylist” with a finish case and a champagne gold metal band.

As a recent Adafruit teardown revealed, the Moto 360 lineup is powered by an MXT112S capacitive controller — which gives it a nice little touch if we may say so ourselves. Embodying a sleek, round face and Gorilla Glass protective layering, the comfortable device puts everything you need right on your wrist, whether that’s check the weather and traffic or send a text.

Ready to build your own? You can browse through various options and get started on Moto Maker here.

AmbyGear is the coolest and smartest watch for kids

Ambit Networks launches the world’s first smartwatch for kids that teaches life lessons while keeping them safe. 

If only there was a device that not only would children love to wear, but would provide parents with a peace of mind as well. That may soon change thanks to Bay Area startup Ambit Networks, who has just launched their own take on a wearable targeted at kids.


The aptly-named AmbyGear is more than just a smartwatch, it’s an entire ecosystem that enables children to be more independent, encourages them to be physically active, and helps them learn life lessons while creating a safe environment — something parents will surely appreciate. The new watch is equipped with built-in GPS and couples tracking, text messaging and mobile gaming all in a single package. Most importantly, the device informs parents of how far a child has strayed and their current whereabouts right from the convenience of their smartphone.


Specifically, AmbyGear’s watch is aimed at children, who may be a bit too young for a smartphone of their own yet are old enough to begin wandering off. What’s more, not only can parents monitor their children’s activity in real-time, the wearer can use a “finder” app to locate their parents in the event they become lost or find themselves in unsafe situation. Parents can also configure boundary alerts, which let them be notified if their child moves outside a specific geo-fenced area.


The watch itself comes in a variety of vibrant colors, including blue, red, green and white — in other words, colors that kids would love to adorn on their wrists. AmbyGear boasts a Sharp ultra low-power display, a long-range Bluetooth module and Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS with 33 tracking channels, a 3-axis accelerometer, a magnetometer, four colored LEDs, a Qi wireless charger and USB cord, and a 20dBm RF power amp. The display is easy to read in sunlight and boasts super low power consumption, enabling the watch’s battery to last nearly a week in between charges. Should a child go beyond a 250-yard radius, AmbyGear switches from Bluetooth to Wi-Fi automatically.


In addition, AmbyGear also comes with a calendar app (which reminds after-school activities or dinner) as well as a built-in reward system, letting parents to encourage good behavior and achievements. These points can be traded in for rewards set by parents, whether that’s extra allowance money or a new toy. Kids can enjoy the watch too, by accessing a range of educational games and using geo caching to explore the outdoors in a much safer, more engaging manner.


In the near future, Ambit Networks says it will be releasing an AmbyGear SDK and a kid’s SDK to allow third party developers and young Makers create their own apps and games. Sound like a wearable device that’s perfect for your three to 11 year old? Head over to its official Indiegogo page, where the team is currently seeking $50,000. Pending all goes to plan, shipment to early backers is expected to begin in August 2015 with full delivery set for September.

Kanega is like a “wearable OnStar for seniors”

UnaliWear’s latest watch offers discreet support for falls, medication reminders, and a guard against wandering.

Most of you who’ve lived through the late ‘80s and ‘90s can distinctly recollect those Life Alert commercials with Mrs. Fletcher yelling, “Help! I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” Lo and behold, the catchphrase would go on to become a pop culture phenomenon throughout the United States. Since then, there have been numerous attempts to develop solutions geared towards providing the elderly real-time support in the event of an emergency, especially when they’re unable to reach a phone. And, as we enter the era of constant connectivity, it’s no wonder more brands are turning to ARM-based wearable technology to help bring senior citizens online.


Inspired by her own 80-year-old mother who refuses to wear some of today’s bulky emergency alert products, UnaliWear CEO Jean Anne Booth decided to take matters into her own hands. Not only are a number of gadgets available today socially stigmatizing and downright ugly, they’re also limited to use in homes unless tethered to a mobile device — something many seniors do not have in their possession.

Dubbed a “Wearable OnStar for seniors,” Kanega is a stylish watch that provides discrete support for falls, medication reminders and a safeguard against wandering, as well as uses an easy-to-use speech interface rather than buttons. The Bluetooth-enabled wearable — which recently made its Kickstarter debut — is connected to a cellular network, meaning that it isn’t reliant upon Wi-Fi or having to be synced to a smartphone much like the Apple Watch or Samsung Gear.


Better yet, UnaliWear’s latest product can be worn 24/7 thanks to its waterproof casing. This allows for the band to be used in the shower or bath, where a majority of falls occur. Its well-lit display and other built-in features can even assist with issues that may arise at night, such as trips to bathroom or the kitchen for a snack.

Aesthetically it appears no different than a traditional watch, thereby eliminating the ignominy often associated with “needing” assistance. Instead, it first requests permission to speak by buzzing on a wearer’s wrist — something that will surely come in handy when in public. The device can even communicate over Bluetooth to newer generation hearing aids, as well as serve as a communications gateway for home telemedicine devices.

Shall an emergency arise, voice-activated assistance will connect you directly to a monitor who will confirm assistance should be dispatched to a location. If a user happens to activate help and doesn’t respond immediately, UnaliWear will call an emergency contact first or dispatch local medical assistance, depending on the preferences set.


At its core, the gadget is based on an Atmel | SMART SAM4L Cortex-M4 MCU and a ATWINC1500 module. While it may appear to be another smartwatch, it’s so much more. Aside from its “work anywhere” support, Kanega packs 200% more battery life, continuous speech recognition, patent-pending quick-swap batteries, GPS for proper tracking, and a 9-axis accelerometer. Detected falls trigger a watch-based query, which significantly reduces false alerts, and eliminate the need to be near a base station or smartphone.

What’s more, data is collected and sent to Verizon’s HIPAA-compliant cloud, which offers an analysis of the wearer’s lifestyle. Artificial intelligence learns the wearer’s lifestyle to determine likelihood of wandering, and updates the information on the watch — including activity and medication reminders — every night while asleep. This also helps a wearer obtain directions home or get help if they happen to stray from home.

Interested in a Kanega for a loved one in your life? Hurry over to its official Kickstarter page, where UnaliWear is currently seeking $100,000. Delivery for early backers is expected to begin in February 2016, while shipments to all other consumers slated for Summer 2016.

UPDATE: UnaliWear has completed a successful crowdfunding campaign, having raised $110,154 from 306 backers.

Neptune looks reverse the roles of the smartwatch and smartphone

Montreal-based startup looks to usher in a Dick Tracy-like future. 

Ever since you can probably remember, the smartphone has been the focal interest of your day. From waking up to a set alarm to checking your email to texting friends, they are seemingly attached to our hands at all times. In recent months, we’ve also seen a number of smartwatches enter the market; however, each of them have essentially been an add-on to your phone. But what if they were to swap roles? That’s the idea behind Neptune Duo, a two-device package featuring the “world’s smartest wearable,” Neptune Hub, and a pocket-sized companion device, the Pocket screen.


The wrist-worn gadget runs on Android Lollipop, while packing the capabilities (and power) of an ordinary smartphone. This includes a quad-core processor, 4G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and NFC. Instead of using a handheld device, the Hub comes paired with a smartphone-like 5-inch display of its own. The aptly named Pocket syncs with the watch and can remotely run apps through its capacitive touchscreen. Not to mention, it also promises to recognize scribbled writing from a finger to form letters and send a message. The screen is equipped with 8mp camera on the back and a 2mp camera on the front with LED flash, as well as a built-in microphone and speaker.

“Much like a mouse, a keyboard, or a computer monitor, the Pocket screen is simply an interface for the Hub. It’s not very smart, it doesn’t need to be,” the company explains.

Whether a user is with or without their Pocket, they will always be able to stay connected with the Hub. In fact, the screens are interchangeable as well, which means you’ll never have to worry about leaving your phone behind again. The wearable allows users to place calls, send and receive messages, glance at notifications, track fitness and much more right from their wrist.

With a combined battery capacity of 3,800 mAh, Neptune Duo can last a few days of normal usage on a single charge. Furthermore, the Pocket can serve as a portable battery juice pack for the Hub, recharging it whenever it needs power.


“The current wearables market is saturated with Bluetooth-paired smartwatches and fitness bands,” said Simon Tian, CEO and Founder of Neptune. “The issue is that they all depend on the presence of a nearby smartphone in order to have full function. This is mainly because the wearable usually acts as a ‘dummy’ device that tethers to your smartphone, the ‘master’ device. But what if the roles were reversed? What if smartphones were completely rethought to simply become dummy pocket-sized displays, void of any computing or connectivity, that paired with a smart wearable on your wrist instead? That’s what Neptune Duo is.”

With most smartwatches we’ve seen so far rely on your smartphone to supply the main computing power, the Neptune Hub acts as the main supply and the screen merely a companion device, meaning of all your personal information will stay securely on the wrist. With all apps and files stored on the Hub, a misplaced or stolen Pocket screen won’t mean lost data anymore.

Intrigued? Head over to the company’s official page here. The Montreal-based startup is currently taking early reservations in various combinations of pay now/pay later. For instance, it’ll cost $798 if paid upon shipment later this year, or $498 if paid for now.