As many cool and exciting things the smartwatches on the market allow users to do, at the end of the day they’re locked into their own hardware and software. This ultimately limits their use to only what the company behind it intends, and limits the imagination of those who buy it. As a result, consumers may have some of the most advanced tech on their wrist, but they basically have no clue how it works.
A big problem lies in the motivation to learn, something the Pi Watch does a good job of creating. The star of the show is the onboard, Arduino-ready Teensy 3.1, a powerful platform that supports a wide array of programming initiatives with the help of integrated Bluetooth 4.0, an accelerometer, magnometer, microphone, buzzer, and infrared transmitter. A bright and round 220 pixel TFT LCD brings it all together, offering users 160 pixels per inch and a 10-point touch ring surrounding it for both pre-programmed and custom gestures.
So far, the Pi Watch has demonstrated light video playback, the ability to be a password keeper, the control of televisions with the infrared transmitter, and the ability to play custom games. A lot more content can be created and added to the watch with the help of the microSD card slot, even if the 480mAh rechargeable battery may not last as long as users may hope. The $119 Pi Watch is expected to ship in March of 2015 should its campaign successfully reach its $50,000 goal.
For the most part, the Pi Watch is being presented as a learning tool, evident in its less than stellar aesthetics. But it serves the purpose of engaging in the technology hands-on and follows the lead of other open source platforms like the RaspiTab, Pi-Top, and Novena, this time with a wearable, an exciting opportunity for many tinkerers.