MutantW Is an ESP32-Powered Open Source Smartwatch

Off-the-shelf parts in a 3D-printed case.

James Lewis
3 months agoWearables

A wearable device category that sometimes gets overlooked by DIY builders is the smartwatch. While commercially produced devices may feature a compact size, they lack hackability. However, a maker known as rahmanshaber has solved both issues with the open source MutantW smartwatch design.

The 44-millimeter footprint is similar in size to commercial smartwatches. However, you can build it with 3D-printed parts, off-the-shelf components, and a small custom PCB.

An ESP32-S1 module powers the MutantW. Output comes from the prominent 1.7-inch 240x280 RGB LCD on the face of the watch. The display rahmanshaber uses a flex ribbon cable, which is why the custom PCB is helpful. It connects the ESP32 and SPI-based screen.

Along with the TFT LCD, feedback comes in two forms. First, a WS2812B RGB LED, also known as a NeoPixel, provides visual indications. We imagine it would help communicate the charing state with the 4-pin docking connector. The other feedback mechanism is tactile with a vibration motor. In addition, users can use two SMD pushbuttons to interact with the watch since the screen does not have a touch interface.

The watch can communicate with other devices with either WiFi or Bluetooth for connectivity. Related, since you will likely be on the go with MutantW, it supports (re-)programming over-the-air--eliminating the need for a USB cable during development. (Although the 4-pin charging cable does support serial communication.)

You can build a MutantW by following rahmanshaber's clear step-by-step instructions. There is also a GitLab repo with the code, PCB, and mechanical parts for 3D printing.

James Lewis
Fan of making things that blink, fly, or beep. Host on element14 Presents, baldengineer.com, AddOhms, and KN6FGY.
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