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Make your own smart watch


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by GodsTale

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GodsTale

This document is also translated in Polish(by Sebastian), Korean language.


Most IT companies participate in the race to grab peoples wrist. A smart watch
becomes the most significant item in a wearable device category. You can easily
find this mood in this link, there are tons of smart watches.
But here is a simple way to evaluate smart watchs future on your own. Make it!
With Arduino micro-processor and Android, I made a simple smart watch and
named it Retro Watch. You can do this too!

HardCopyWorld

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Bio: This, Too, Shall Pass Away


More by GodsTale

Retro Watch is an open source project to let you make a smart watch based on
Arduino and Android. This text explains about modules, blueprints, how to install
and use the Arduino and the Android source codes step by step.
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Smart Watch

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RetroWatch is a simple system that is used a hardware platform called Arduino,


which is intended for artists, designers, and hobbyst, and an Android app. The
overall structure is in the picture above.
Imagine a very small computer that you can wear on your wrist. Arduino board is a
micro-processor and a storage, and theres only one input method : a button.
Bluetooth is to communicate with other devices, and the battery would be
necessary for power. Ill install an Android app for collecting or editing various RSS
and system information and for notification on the Android device.

Step 2: Preparing for RetroWatch

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You need to prepare modules as small as possible to wear the watch on your wrist.
There may be tons of variations, but I chose parts that are commonly used and
inexpensive.
.
Hardware parts for smart watch
Arduino micro-controller
I chose the smallest Arduino, Pro mini. Arduino Pro mini is a light version of UNO
R3. It doesnt have a USB interface chip in order to reduce the price and the size.
There are two version depending on the operating voltage(3.3v/5v). And I used a
3.3v version, because the bluetooth and display that are connected with the board
support 3.3v and the board goes well with the 3.7v LiPo battery. It runs at 8MHz and
a 5v version at 16MHz, but 8MHz is enough. Overall, all you need to prepare are
Arduino Pro Mini 3.3v and USB to UART module.
The main chip of the board, ATmega328, has only 2KBytes RAM, but ATmega128
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has just 1KBytes, which is very limited to run my system. Most boards have
ATmega328, but you have to make sure.
Bluetooth
One of most common bluetooth modules that you can get are HC-06 main module
and the one with interface base board. The latter one has a reset button, the status
LED, and it supports both operation voltage(3,3v/5v), so this one is more
convenient but the size is rather big, the LED, which is not quite necessary drains
the battery and a little more expensive. So I used a HC-06 without the interface
board.
Display
To make a SMART WATCH, it would be necessary to find a small, low-power
display. Id given lots of thoughts, then I chose -.96 OLED Display. There are
various sizes of the displays(0.96, 1.3, etc), it works on low-power, English font
and the image out available, and it supports I2C, SPI, which makes easy to
connect with Arduino.
Battery
I use LiPo(Lithum-Polymer) battery in this project. 1-cell LiPo battery flows out
current in 3.7v, which works perfectly with Arduino Pro mini, and there are many
kind of batteries in terms of the size and the capacity. The most ideal battery
depends on what size of watch you want to make. I recommend the battery with
protection circuit(overcharging, over-discharging safe), and its better if it has a
removable socket. It might helpful for you if you get a female socket and USB or
DC adaptor recharger.
Etc.
You need wires, soldering iron, a switch and 10K ohm resistance(for a button), and
a batter jack. It would be helpful for you to prepare the assembly manual.

Preparing for Android


Android v.4.3 supports the service that is used to get notification information from
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an app. So RetroWatch app is based on Android v.4.3 to enable notification


service. For users who dont use Android v.4.3 yet, the app without this function is
released also. You can download the sources at GitHub, or download the app from
Google Play Store. (Search with RetroWatch or RetroWatch LE)

Step 3: Assembling the watch

Folks who are accustomed to handling Arduino or physical computing would


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proceed this procedure, but I recommend the others not to assemble Arduino Pro
mini board first, but try to make the watch with the board that is easy to connect
and use like UNO board. The assembly structure for RetroWatch is here.
# Bluetooth-> Arduino :
VCC -> 3.3V
GND -> GND
TX -> D2
RX -> D3
# OLED -> Arduino :
GND -> GND
VCC -> VCC
SDA -> A4(the analog 4th pin)
SCL -> A5(the analog 5th pin),
# Button :
You may connect with a button which is small enough for the smart watch and a
10k-ohm resistance. Refer to the picture attached.
# Battery : You can simply connect battery by connecting (+) -> RAW, GND ->
GND. You need to put (+) line to RAW pin in case you use any sort of external
power supply, such as an external battery, on Arduino Pro mini board. Otherwise, it
can damage the board.
# USB to UART module -> Arduino :
3.3V -> VCC
TXD -> RXD
RXD -> TXD
GND -> GND

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Step 4: Compile Arduino source for watch and upload.

You can download RetroWatch Arduino source on the source tab on the GitHub.
GitHub RetroWatch project page
And you need to do something before you complie the source code.
.
# Install graphics driver
You need a graphic library to draw images, shapes, fonts on the OLED. In order to
use it, you must install Adafruit_SSD1306, Adafruit-GFX-Library.
(According to your development environment, Adafruit library conflicts with
Robot_xxx library. In this case, backup and delete Robot_xxx libraries from arduino
library folder.)
# Copying the bitmap image header
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
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folder/Arduino/hardware/libraries/RetroWatch. If theres no such folder, simply


make it.
# Modifying the source
Open Arduino IDE and load RetroWtchArduino.ino. Next, set pin numbers that you
used when you connect the watch. Its not necessary to modify if you use Arduino
pins that are used in this instruction. But if you didnt, you need to modify the
source codes below.
SoftwareSerialBTSerial(2,3); // Input your TX, RX pin numbers
int buttonPin = 5; // Input your button pin number
display.begin(SSD1306_SWITCHCAPVCC, 0x3D); // Replace Ox3D with your I2C
address
# Compile / Upload
If you follow the instruction well, you need to compile the source code. If this
procedure fails, you have to check the error message and what went wrong so far.
If upload is completed, the RetroWatch Arduino logo and the Adafruit logo(the
OLED manufacturer) have to be display on the OLED. After the logo phase passes
and time shows up 00:00, the initialization perfectly succeeds.
Now, its time to check the Bluetooth. Turn on the Bluetooth on your phone(Setting
> Bluetooth). Your phone starts to search Bluetooth devices nearby, and the
Bluetooth module should show. Once the Bluetooth module shows, you may
proceed the pairing phase, and the two devices connect after putting 4-digit
password (in my case, default 1234).

Step 5: Android app install & source download


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Its too big to demostrate how to compile and modify the android source. FYI,
check /RetroWatch_Android/RetroWatch folder in the source downloaded from
GitHub. I registered this app to Play Store, so go download it(search RetroWatch
or 'RetroWatch LE').
Follow the instruction as below and check the operation of RetroWatch.
If you install the app, turn on the bluetooth first(Setting > Bluetooth) and pair with
the module. Next, start RetroWatch app. Choose the second menu(Notification
access) on the top and grant RetroWatch the authorization for Notification. Choose
the first menu(Choose the device) in the action bar and select the Arduino board
that is already paired. If you cant find it, check the power and the bluetooth
module. Or choose device scan menu to scan manually.
If the connection is succeeded, you may see Connected in connectivity display
area at the bottom. Touch the action bar menu() and choose Data transfer to
Watch. This menu transfer the data to display time and messages by Bluetooth. If
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the Bluetooth module works fine with the Arduino board, time information changes
to current time. The Bluetooth connection is OK, but time doesnt display, check the
connection between TX, RX. Now, its time to have fun with MY OWN SMART
WATCH!!! Pictures show the progress so far.

Step 6: RetroWatch Arduino

RetroWatch changes mode in a circle as below.


Initial display:
The phase which the logo shows up when the watch boots.
Clock display:
The basic display which tells you time. You can change the style of the clock in the
Android app. Analog, Digital, Mixed styles are supported so far. If you push the
button, the display changes to the Emergency message display. It changes to the
idle mode in case theres no data update for 10 minutes.
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Emergency message display:


The display that shows when users push the button in the watch display or a new
emergency message is updated. If users push the button again or 10 seconds
passes, the next message is shown. The display changes to a the normal message
display after every emergency message shows.
Normal message display:
The display that shows after emergency message ends or users push the button.
The next message shows up when users push the botton or after 5 seconds. The
display changes to the clock when the last message shows.
Idle display:
The display that is shown if theres no data push during 10 minutes. It displays
Indicator and time(hh:mm) the display update interval changes to run at minimum
power consumption. If you push the button or get a new message, the display
changes to the clock display.

RetroWatch module has these features.


Three emergency messages can be stored. The message that the watch is already
received is deleted if the messages are over 3. It cant store lots of data due to
memory shortage(2KB RAM).
Normal message stores up to 7. Like emergency messages, the first messages
are deleted when the received messages reach to the maximum.
You can change the clock style as you want. Or you can even make your own
clock style by altering the source code.

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There are 65 icons so the Android app can use them. You can also add your own
icons.(need to compile Arduino code)
You can choose whether the indicator would be shown or not in the app.
The internal battery is 140mAh, so the battery time is about 7 hrs at a normal
status. I guess the battery time would be longer if I fix the source code for battery
save.

Step 7: RetroWatch Android app.

The performance of RetroWatch itself is limited, but I prepared some features to


show various of data. The biggest feature is filtering messages sent to the watch.
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show various of data. The biggest feature is filtering messages sent to the watch.
And I put an RSS feed feature to use data from different kind of areas. Try each
feature by switching 4 tabs.
Message list tab :
Messages are the information collected from the app. Every message is inactivated
except for emergency messages. Inactivated messages are not sent. You can
change the status by filtering. By touching each message, you can enable each
message or messages from same package.
Filter setting tab:
The RetroWatch app controls every single information by filtering. You can add, fix,
and delete filters in this tab. You can change strings of messages(ex. change
language Korean -> English since it supports English only), delete messages not to
show, or just activate them without a string modification.
RSS tab:
You can register and monitor RSS feeds. The watch can show lots of information
by RSS feeds. For instance, if you add a weather RSS and modify strings to filter,
you can receive the weather alarm from the watch!!! You can easily search RSS
feeds from the web site which I made and add them to the app.(Sorry, it's written in
Korean now)
Watch control tab:
You are able to alter styles of the app and watch. If you put your Gmail account
here, unread messages are registered in a message list. You can change the clock
style and time display indicator to show(Display interval is already set because of
power saving, the change applies at interval).
__
.
The RetroWatch app collects three kinds of data.
Notification:
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A notification that is registered in the Andriod indicator bar. App uses the
Notification service to collect notifications, only over Android 4.3 supports this
feature. Please download RetroWatch LE app for other android version. LE app
doesnt have the notification collection feature.
System info:
The system info of the phone such as battery status, RF(LTE, 3G) connection
status, WiFi status, recharging progress is collected in the watch. In addition, if
you register a Gmail account, it counts unread e-mails.
RSS feed:
If you set RSS title and URL, it periodically read RSS data.
.
Here are the other minor features.
Messages are sent in two kinds emergency message, normal message. But users
cannot modify them. You can set icon that shows on the watch when it filters
messages. You can use 65 icons. All information is updated to the watch every 30
minutes.The RetroWatch service runs in background even if you shut the app.
Need more details about how to use app? See this link: Retro Watch app quick
guide.

Step 8: Packaging

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RetroWatch Android, Arduino module is done, and if theres no problem to operate,


you need to pack the watch. Make a package as you want.
RetroWatch Specifications:
Processor : ATmega328 3.3v(8MHz)
32KB Flash (2KB is shared for Bootloader)
2KB RAM
1KB EEPROM
Size : Width x Height x Depth = 34mm x 32mm x 12mm (Not packaged)
Battery : LiPo 140mAh (idle time 6-7hrs, 1-2hrs for recharging)
Connecting with Android app
Supports notification, system info, RSS feed
Message filtering
Open source
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Hard-case file for 3D printer -> Download here!!

Step 9: Working demo and epilogue

You can feel how fascinating and powerful the open source and the open hardware
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are through this project. The idea comes true even though you are not professional
because hardware is getting inexpensive and numbers of people shares source
codes and know-how. Lets try!!!
You can see the working demo at: YouTube link.
More specific how-to document at : RetroWatch project
Download sources at : GitHub RetroWatch page
Retro Watch app quick guide
Hard-case file for 3D printer
RetroWatch Android is based on Apache license, RetroWatch Arduino follows
GPL v3.0.
Special thanks to Chang-Han Jeon and Kyung-Rae Park. Jeon translated this text
in English and Park made a case for RetroWatch with his 3D printer.

We have a be nice comment policy.


Please be positive and constructive.

I Made it!

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17 hours ago

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sarahjoy.manimti

17 hours ago

Reply

hello GodsTale,
Awesome watch, I'm planning to build one :)
I have some questions to ask, first, is it okay if I use a Lipo battery with
1000mah or more?
also does it also notify the user when he has an upcoming phone calls or
messages?
im just an an arduino newbie :)

ExHippoMan

yesterday

Reply

I made it thanks for everything!!! but its takes forever to boot up is something I
can do about that?

AbhishekB3

2 days ago

Reply

Hello GodsTale,
Excellent watch! I'm making one for myself!
I was wondering if we can add notifications displayed by applications also
come up on the watch?
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GodsTale (author)

AbhishekB3

yesterday

Reply

Of course app gathers every notifications if you allow the


permission. When the notifications are shown in the app, tab the
item and enable it.

AbhishekB3

GodsTale

yesterday

Reply

2 days ago

Reply

yesterday

Reply

7 days ago

Reply

Oh thats wonderful! Thank you

MichaelD33

Do you know of any iOS applications that will do the same thing?

GodsTale (author)

MichaelD33

Unfortunately I didn't see the iOS app like this.

MichaelD33

Hmm, are there any apps for iOS that will work? If not, do you know what I
would need to do, and how it communicates to the arduino/bluetooth module
from the phone

nk4210

14 days ago

Reply

hello, i am trying to make this project and i want to know if i can use a
5v/16mhz arduino with atmega 328 and & what changes i need to do in the
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coding and if not can i use arduino 3.3v/8mhz with atmega328p and how to
overcome the signature problem.

GodsTale (author)

nk4210

12 days ago

Reply

I also tested codes with Arduino Nano and there's no problem.


You don't need to edit code. If you have problems, please notify
me again.

rtrathbone

20 days ago

Reply

I have tried near everything to compile this code, And noticed others within the
below comments are having the same problem? I have made several other
projects to test the button the bluetooth and the screen and kept all the the
original pin designations to match retrowatch, everythingelse compiles and
works. could not compile this project without errors in V1.0.6 & V1.5.8 see as
below-I'm clearily missing something............................
RetroWatchArduino.ino:44:2: error: #error ("Height incorrect, please fix
Adafruit_SSD1306.h!");
RetroWatchArduino:41: error: 'Adafruit_SSD1306' does not name a type
RetroWatchArduino.ino: In function 'void setup()':
RetroWatchArduino:169: error: 'display' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino:169: error: 'SSD1306_SWITCHCAPVCC' was not
declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino.ino: In function 'void drawIndicator()':
RetroWatchArduino:668: error: 'display' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino:668: error: 'WHITE' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino:677: error: 'display' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino:677: error: 'WHITE' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino.ino: In function 'void drawStartUp()':
RetroWatchArduino:689: error: 'display' was not declared in this scope
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RetroWatchArduino:691: error: 'WHITE' was not declared in this scope


RetroWatchArduino.ino: In function 'void drawEmergency()':
RetroWatchArduino:712: error: 'display' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino:722: error: 'WHITE' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino.ino: In function 'void drawMessage()':
RetroWatchArduino:738: error: 'display' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino:748: error: 'WHITE' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino.ino: In function 'void drawClock()':
RetroWatchArduino:765: error: 'display' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino:773: error: 'WHITE' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino:794: error: 'WHITE' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino:818: error: 'WHITE' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino.ino: In function 'void drawIdleClock()':
RetroWatchArduino:831: error: 'display' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino.ino: In function 'void showTimePin(int, int, double, double,
double)':
RetroWatchArduino:885: error: 'display' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino:885: error: 'WHITE' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino.ino: In function 'void drawIcon(int, int, int)':
RetroWatchArduino:893: error: 'display' was not declared in this scope
RetroWatchArduino:893: error: 'WHITE' was not declared in this scope

GodsTale (author)

rtrathbone

18 days ago

Reply

First error occurs when SSD1306_LCDHEIGHT is not defined


or is not 64.
>>> #error("Height incorrect, please fix Adafruit_SSD1306.h!");
Open your arduino library folder and find Adafruit_SSD1306.h
And search #define SSD1306_128_64.(at line 60) If this line is
commented out compiler makes errors you've got. Make sure
that this line is enabled and below lines are disabled.
// #define SSD1306_128_32// #define SSD1306_96_16
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rtrathbone

GodsTale

14 days ago

Reply

Hi Gods Tale,
I really admire the fact you actually follow up and have tryed to help
people trying to duplicate your build-many wouldn't, thanks.
As per your advise I had noticed, glazing over your files that
confirmation was required on the screen size. My program is, as per
your default download which confirms the 64 pixel line height and the //
#define SSD1306_128_32// #define SSD1306_96_16 are both
represented as comments. I intend to get some latter in week to go
over it more thoroughly. I will let you know my progress.

GodsTale (author)

rtrathbone

12 days ago

Reply

If there's no problem in feature define of Adafruit library, check


Adafruit libraries are installed well. (check library folder name,
libraries are seen in arduino IDE menu...)

Admiral Sym

18 days ago

Reply

Hello, I really like the project you have here. I am planing on building my own.
Before I purchase the parts I have to ask a few questions. First, does the
screen have to be monochrome? Also will the coding have to be changed if I
used a 1.3 inch screen rather than a .96? Second, do I have to use the pro
mini or can I use the adafruit pro trinket. The board is of similar size, same
specifications yet, it has a usb interface built in. I see in the diagram that there
is needed soldering in that area for other wires but is it still possible?

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uberEpic53

Admiral Sym

15 days ago

Reply

Hello Admiral Sym


Quote from learn.adafruit.com/introducing-pro-trinket: 'The USB
connection is for uploading new code only.' you'd have to use FTDI if
you want to have a serial connection.

GodsTale (author)

Admiral Sym

18 days ago

Reply

First, does the screen have to be monochrome?


=> Yes, it must be the monochrome because icons are
converted to fit 1bit monochrome display.
Also will the coding have to be changed if I used a 1.3 inch
screen rather than a .96
=> No it doesn't matter.
Second, do I have to use the pro mini or can I use the adafruit
pro trinket.
=> I didn't have the pro trinket so I cannot sure. It looks almost
same with pro mini but you have to change bluetooth serial
connection pin. Because adafruit says that "Pins #2 and #7 are
not available (they are exclusively for USB)". Also change the
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software serial initializing code below.


SoftwareSerialBTSerial(2,3);//Connect HC-06, RX, TX
(Does trinket has an USB interface in it? It seems not...)

KyleH1

1 month ago

Reply

Awesome Project! I was wondering what kind of battery did you use, and
where did you get it?

GodsTale (author)

KyleH1

1 month ago

Reply

I used an 140mAh LiPo battery. You can get the various size
battery from ebay or any other device shop.

Marcel71627162

1 month ago

Reply

Hey,,
Prinzipale work the watch good, but the Problem is that some Notifikationen
for example whatsapp will not displayed. When the App is in the background. I
think the Servis do not work corectly in the background. Had someone other
the Same Problems?
Thanks for this grate Projekt and thanks for publishing it

GodsTale (author)

Marcel71627162

1 month ago

Reply

Android kills background service when there is not enough


memory or else. I'll fix it in a few days.
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Marcel71627162

GodsTale

1 month ago

Reply

How will you fix it? And some times or Vetter the most oft time i not
resive whatsapp messages. Also not if the APP is open and aktiv. But
Thema Batterie status will displayed ever. Also when The APP is in the
background.
Thanks for help
Marcel

Marcel71627162

Marcel71627162

1 month ago

Reply

1 month ago

Reply

whatsapp messages will never displayed

GodsTale (author)

Marcel71627162

Does whatsapp make notifications? If so, RetroWatch app can


collect these notifications. (Your Android version must be 4.3 or
over, and approve access by button on up-right corner.)

Marcel71627162

GodsTale

1 month ago

Reply

yes of cause Make whatsapp notifications. And this notifications will


displayed in your APP, too. But the messages will not synk with the
clock. I don`t understand your APP settings. The quick guite do not
help me .

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GodsTale (author)

Marcel71627162

1 month ago

Reply

By touching the WhatsApp item in message tab, you can enable


it.(Actually this makes "enable" filter) And then RetroWatch app
will send WhatsApp message to watch periodically. In filter tab
you can delete this filter.

LesPicard

1 month ago

Reply

1 month ago

Reply

1 month ago

Reply

3 months ago

Reply

Hello. Does it work with IOS? (iPhone, iPod)

GodsTale (author)

LesPicard

No, only supports Android device.

kamhagh

why do you use whole arduino board?

HLucas1988

I'm trying to build the watch I'm having a hard time finding the materials need
from the ect area where might I find these materials

LesPicard

HLucas1988

1 month ago

Reply

i found everything at ebay. It costs about 25 dollars total.

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elborjiis

2 months ago

Reply

Buenas,estoy con un proyecto similar y estoy basandolo mucho en el tuyo


mejorando varios aspectos de este,y me gustaria saber si en vez de usar la
shield de ardino mini pro podria ser sustituida por Arduino nano,que ya
dispone de interfaz para ser programada...

LesPicard

elborjiis

1 month ago

Reply

tu puedes, pero el nano necessitas 5v y el pro mini solo 3.3

jenny.lauzus

1 month ago

Reply

sorry if this question has been answered I am new, but I am looking at making
a smartwatch and was wondering what all does this one do? does it show the
name of the person that you received a text from?

LesPicard

jenny.lauzus

1 month ago

Reply

hi, I haven't even built it yet but I don't think so, but you may be able to
change the code or settings to do that

gigafide

1 month ago

Reply

2 months ago

Reply

This is pretty much amazing!

JanH1

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Hi GodsTale,
thank you for your detailed documentation of your smartphone project. You
inspired me to make my own smartwatch on arduino platform, but based on
windows phone 8.1.
I started coding a few days ago and made my first progress in syncing time
and date with my windows phone. At the moment i got some timing problems
with the bluetooth communication and the update of the display. I will analyse
your code the next days. I think there is a lot i can learn from.
If you want to take a look at my project i started a blog about it.
www.arduwin.blogspot.com
Thank you!

GodsTale (author)

JanH1

2 months ago

Reply

Great! I have no experience in windows phone programming(and


no windows phone also). So I'm expecting your result. Please
notice to me when you finish the watch.

elborjiis

2 months ago

Reply

Can i use Arduino Nano for this project?


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GodsTale (author)

elborjiis

2 months ago

Reply

Yes you can. Nano is more convenient for prototype but to be


wearable, consider how to supply 5V power.

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