If you are looking for a Commodore 64 compatible smartwatch, you’re in luck. There is one out there and you can even use it to create simple BASIC programs.
Those of us old enough to remember the Commodore 64 computer think with nostalgia to those days. With a “massive” 64 kilobytes of memory, you could create your own Basic programs on it and play a range of games. It was the introduction to the incredible technological advances to arrive in the subsequent decades.
Introduced back in 1982, the Commodore 64 is considered to be the higest selling individual computer model of all time. The device dominated the low-end computer market for most of the 1980s.
A Commodore 64 smartwatch that runs BASIC programs
Those days might be well behind us, but not for Nick Bild. As detailed on his Github page, he created a customized T-Watch 2020 that is inspired by the Commodore 64 computer. It features a Commodore 64 watch face and a built-in BASIC interpreter.
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If you are used to the watchOS or WearOS system, this is nothing like it. You are not going to get any fancy activity tracking tech or the ability to install third party apps.
Although you do get an accelerometer that counts steps, this device is not about health and fitness. The C64 Watch is something that lets your relive the old computing glory days with something that functions with a BASIC operating system.
Incredibly, in the early stages of the project Nick used a tiny watch onscreen keyboard to tap out his BASIC programs. Then he created a connection that lets users plug the watch into a computer in order to access the customized version of Tiny Basic Plus that is running on the timepiece.
And when you want to take a rest from all the BASIC programming, you can enjoy a Commodore-themed watch face. It resembles very much what we used to see when we switched our Commodore 64s back in the 1980s. The additions are a small battery indicator in the top right-hand corner and a rainbow colored “C” toward the bottom. The latter opens up a menu with functions you can access.
Nick has recently extended the functionality so that you can sync your smartwatch to your Commodore 64. The two communicate through a specially designed infrared port that he hooked up to the C64’s User port. Nick built one himself by adopting an Arduino Micro. For example, he demonstrates that you can use this to transfer your step count to your Commodore 64 desktop computer.
Of course, the C64 Watch is very limited in what it can do. Apple and Garmin are definitely not feeling threatened. Sure it can run simple Commodore 64 programs thanks to its custom software stack, but a Commodore 64 emulator is not something that tops most people wish lists.
Having said that, we are sure there are a few Commodore 64 aficionados who may looking to relive the old days. Plus, it demonstrates that the good old Commodore 64 is not really that different from devices that we have grown accustomed to using today.
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