At some point, someone decided that smartwatches have to be capable of replacing your phone. While that might work okay-ish on Apple's platform, it's a disaster over in the Android world – underpowered but battery-sucking Snapdragon chips meet poorly written software on Wear OS. With Pebble gone, there aren't many options left for people looking for a simple wearable that just shows them notifications. Wearable fan Samson March took matters into his own hands (literally) and created a smartwatch with a custom OS, custom design, and a battery life of one whole week that simply mirrors his iPhone's notifications, with no bells and whistles, all while open sourcing the entire project. Sometimes, less is more.
This theme continues throughout the whole device. The encasing is made from 3D-printed woodfill PLA, consisting of 70% plastic and 30% wood, which is apparently pretty good at mimicking wood. On the inside, the chip is made out of only four components – the battery, an acceleration sensor, the actuation block (for communication with the screen and vibration motor), and some Dialog Semiconductor DA14683 chip, which offers a Bluetooth LE connection.
From render to finished project
The circular screen we see in the photo isn't touch sensitive. Instead, the watch offers touch gestures on the top, bottom, left, and right side of the device that you can use for navigation. The software itself is written from scratch in C, and offers a neat raise to wake gesture through the acceleration sensor. It does nothing but show the time and notifications, and thus helps the battery last a whole week.
For now, there are some issues with the device, as the creator himself states. For one, it isn't waterproof, and the woodfill encasing needs a lot of extra grinding work since it doesn't come out of the printer in a pristine condition. It also appears that the watch only works with iOS for now, since its creator uses an iPhone.
March says that he initially didn't plan to mass-produce these, but hints that he might consider doing that. I personally don't like Wear OS at all, since it tries to do too many things with too little power, and would welcome this nifty device as an alternative right away. Anyway, since the project is completely open source, anyone interested and – probably more importantly – capable can build their own smartwatch, too. The complete project is on GitHub.