If you look on at the lofty price tags of some of the world’s latest smartwatches and fitness bands, but happen to be a dab hand with a soldering iron, you could easily produce your own wearable gear. How? With this Kickstarter project, which is asking for pledges to help build the Raspberry Pi of wearables, a tiny, integrated circuit board featuring a simple API, miniature form factor, low energy bluetooth connectivity and ability to hook up with smartphone apps.
Even if you can’t watch the above video, the thumbnail alone should show you how small these things really are – around the size of a quarter. This means you could potentially fit it into clothing, watches, wrist bands and a variety of other wearable products, all designed to your own specification.
It’s powered by a miniature ARM Cortex M0 chip, one of the smallest processors in the world, 256KB of flash memory with 8KB of RAM and a USB micro-rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack. It’s also equipped with a temperature sensor, coin vibrating motor, micro-push button and other accessories, though many of them will need to be constructed and attached to the board manually.
There’s also bundled sample-applications, which work on iOS and Android, so you can open them up and start playing around with the device’s functionality. The idea is to just see what you can come up with and maybe even make a commercial product out of it.
It’s not expensive at all. While the early bird adopter editions have all gone at $20 and $25, you can still pick one up for $30 (add $10 shipping for international orders) and it comes with basic accessories too. If you want some extra censors, LEDs and batteries so you don’t have to buy them separately, you’ll be spending a little bit more – $35 in total.
Bear in mind if you like the sound of a cheap smartwatch, this is going to be quite an underpowered part compared to Samsung’s latest offerings and it doesn’t come with a display, or any fully functioning commercial apps. You’ll need to buy the components you need and you’ll need to develop the software yourself. This is a real developers kit, designed to give bedroom-hackers the ability to create little hardware sale businesses for themselves.
This is a pretty cheap purchase, so if you just like the look of it and want to play around, even if you only try it once and never touch it again, you’ve hardly wasted a lot of money. However it is designed with hardware-hackers in mind, so really this should be reserved for those that want to make something new and exciting with one of the smallest control boards ever made.
Don’t forget though, if you just like the idea of the project, you can pledge $5 to help make it a reality.