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Hack your own e-paper smartwatch with this $ 50 source set



If you’ve ever wanted to be like Steve Wozniak and have your own bespoke, geeky watch, Squarofumi (stylized SQFMI) might have the product for you: an open source, Arduino-powered smartwatch with a 1.54-inch e-paper display ( via Gizmodo). It’s called Watchy, and both hardware and software can be customized completely. However, you can use it straight out of the box, as the PCB acts as the body and has points for attaching a watch strap. And to top it all off, it’s only $ 50, on sale for $ 45 at the time of writing.

The SQFMI website has sections for dials and bags, but at the moment they both just say “Coming soon”

;, so if you think about this watch, you will definitely be sure that you are ready for a DIY project. . Oh, and it’s also the fact that the watch does not come together – you have to put it together yourself and hook the 200×200 screen, PCB and 200mAh battery together. There is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 3-axis accelerometer and four buttons that can be used for navigation, or other functions you can dream of.

The Watchy has hardware that DIYers may be familiar with.
Graphics: SQFMI

If you do not have to scare yourself, do not scare it, it is one last thing to note: while the watch comes with pre-installed software, you need to download the watch if you want to make any changes to the dial. Arduino IDE and program them yourself.

While some people may be turned off by all the work required to make the watch work, it means for some people that the self-built approach means that they will be able to get exactly what they want. If you want a watch with a case that looks like an iPod or Game Boy, with a suitable interface, you can 3D print a case and code the dial yourself. This is the kind of freedom you probably won’t get from most commercial smartwatches, although Tizen and Wear OS watches offer downloadable dials.

The battery life SQFMI estimates depends on your usage issue – it says that if you just keep time, you should get five to seven days, but if you retrieve data often, you can only see two to three. However, its open source code means that you can always place a larger battery in it, or try to do some software optimizations if there are features you are willing to cut.

The watch uses an ESP32 SOC, which can be programmed with Arduino and MicroPython.
Image: SQFMI

If you are looking for this type of coding / DIY project, Watchy is sold on Tindie. I would only recommend that you look at SQFMI’s website to ensure that the amount of documentation available is sufficient for you to get started.


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