SMA-Q2 Hacked Using Custom Open Source Software

Andrzej Surowiec reverse engineered the inexpensive smartwatch to run open source firmware on it.

Cabe Atwell
2 months agoSensors / Internet of Things

The SMA-Q2 (AKA SMA Time) is an affordable Chinese-made smartwatch outfitted with a Bluetooth-enabled nRF52832 SoC and offers various fitness tracking applications, along with interfacing with user’s smartphones. So what makes it special, especially when there are hundreds of other smartwatches that can do the same and more? It’s easily hackable, meaning you can change its firmware and install the software platform of your choice. Well, sort of.

Electronics hacker Andrzej Surowiec (of EmerytHacks) managed to find a way of replacing the firmware on his SMA-Q2 through the nRF52832’s bootloader using the Nordic uploading tool, which allowed him to install his custom firmware via smartphone. The downside to using his trick is that the bootloader needs to be completely erased to remove its locked status. Surowiec also managed to reverse engineer the SMA-Q2 to get the watch’s features working with his firmware.

Although his endeavor is still ongoing, Surowiec has managed to design a new watch face with weather updates and audio controls. He also reduced the display’s power consumption, which refreshes only the necessary parts. The heart rate sensor outputs to raw waveforms as well, along with tap and tilt detection via the onboard accelerometer. Surowiec has uploaded a detailed walkthrough of how he managed to install his custom firmware onto the SMA-Q2 on his project page for those who would like to do the same. It should be noted that newer models of the SMA-Q2 smartwatch use glue rather than screws for keeping the backplate secure, so caution is urged before trying to pry it open.

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