The $37 Open Smartwatch is the result of an open source project. The Lite Edition starts selling tomorrow with a GPS iteration to follow in the near future.
The device is based on ESP32 tech. This is a low-cost, low-power system on a chip microcontroller with integrated WiFi and dual-mode Bluetooth. Created “Paul’s 3D Things“, the timepiece consistes of hardware modules, 3D printable cases and a proprietary operating system based on C++/Arduino/PlatformIO. Everything is created with open source software and hosted on GitHub.
The overall look of the watch is fairly interesting. We’re in two minds whether we like it or not. But it definitely has character. Having said that, you won’t mistake it for an Apple Watch or Garmin.
Beyond looks, the thing that makes Open Watch truly unique is that it can be assembled, repaired and modified by everyone. Youtube videos can be used for reference and help with assembly. So the timepiece is more for hobbyists and those into DIY. It may also pique interest of the Pebble watch crowd.
The technical specs of Open Smartwatch are as follows:
- EPS32-micro-D4: 2x240MHz, 320KB RAM
- Bluetooth 4.2 BR/EDR BLE
- WiFi 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n
- GC9A01 240×240 16bit TFT display (round)
- BMA400 Accelerometer + Pedometer
- MCP73831 LiPo Charger
So no heart rate monitor or any advanced health and fitness tracking, but the accelerometer has the capability to count steps, measure distance, etc. The above specs and $37 price tag are for the Light edition. This is available to purchase now on Makerfabs.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
A GPS iteration will follow in the near future. This is currently in pre-release as it is still under developement. Additional hardware on that one consists of:
- Quectel L96 GPS module
- 4MB RAM
The project pages state that these are still early days for the Open Watch project. In the future you’ll be able to buy the watch pre-assembled. For now you’ll need a hot air gun or a reflow station to put the thing together. If you don’t need the accelerometer, you can hand solder everything.
The other option is to build the watch from scratch by purchasing all the individual parts. Everything is available on AliExpress and the list of parts that you need with purchase links can be found on the watch’s GitHub page.
Open Watch is not the only open source smartwatch out there. We’ve written in the past about PineTime – a $25 open-source device. The watch’s software is being designed with the assistance of the wider Linux development community. This means PineTime’s final feature-set will largely be dependent on the interest of developers.
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