Wander Watch is a compass that lights up in the direction of your destination. You can use an app to enter where you’re going, and then put the phone away. This is part of a series of products I’m creating that help undo our overconnected lives.
This project was created for a course titled Expressive Interfaces: Introduction to Fashion Technology, and taught at ITP at NYU.
A slide deck can be found here.
Role: Ideation, concept development, physical design, fabrication, and coding.
How It Works
The user opens the app, selects a destination, and sends it to the watch using Bluetooth LE. The watch lights up in the direction of the destination. The watch itself is 3D printed and encloses a stack of components.
Stage 1 – Concept development
- Brainstormed what a wearable navigation piece might look like.
- Illustrated the look and feel of the watch.
Stage 2 – Research
- I anticipated working with a fairly complex system of interlocking parts. I spent a considerable amount of time researching software and hardware options.
- Software I used:
- Tom Igoe’s Making Things Talk book. Chapter 10 covers phone apps and Bluetooth technology.
- Don Coleman’s free plugin to use Bluetooth LE to connect a phone app with a peripheral device.
- Google Maps API’s Geometry Library which allows for calculating the heading (the angle between origin and destination).
- Hardware and Materials I used:
- Flora microcontroller
- Flora Bluetooth LE module
- Neopixel Ring
- Webbing strap
- Tape and Tack
- 3D printed case
- Acrylic compass face
Stage 3 – Code
- Step by step, I assembled together my working code:
- Confirm bluetooth connectivity using Flora microcontroller & Bluetooth module with Bluefruit app to confirm connectivity
- Send commands to turn on and off specific Neopixel ring LEDs
- Download and set up Don Coleman’s Cordova Phonegap app example
- Use app to send commands to Neopixels
- Insert Google Maps API Heading code into Bluetooth app.
- Replace one map pin with phone’s actual location.
Stage 4 – Fabrication
- Meanwhile, I developed and printed the physical design of the watch.
- Research 3D printed watch designs online.
- Create my own unique design in Tinkercad, including a tailored closing mechanism and opening for the strap.
- Print test examples on the Ultimaker 3D printers at ITP.
- Print a final prototype at NYU’s LaGuardia print shop on the Mojo printer.
- Assemble strap by sewing velcro for an adjustable fit.
I hope in the future to add the GPS and magnetometer on the watch itself. In addition, I’d like to add three buttons on the side, so that a user can pre-program a few locations at home and leave their phone behind!