Time Machine Mark V Is an Open Source, Retro-Inspired Smartwatch Running JavaScript

Build your own smartwatch with BLE.

James Lewis
3 months agoWearables

Digital circuit artist Eric Min has introduced a new version of his Time Machine smartwatch. It's a 43.18mm square device that has a retro feel thanks to its 7-segment displays.

Where did Min get the idea? When his former smartwatch stopped functioning, he set out to make his own (and make it better.)

"Once upon a time, I had a lovely Pebble Time smartwatch. I loved it so much I actually slapped a dBrand skin on it. Red and black carbon fiber. My Pebble ate Rolexes for breakfast."

Mark V is an update to Min's previous Mark IV. However, the processor is the same. It is Nordic's nRF52832 system-on-a-chip (SoC). The code for the Time Machine runs JavaScript through Espruino. An advantage of this SoC is that it contains a real-time clock (RTC.)

The Mark V cannot keep track of time after the battery dies. That is not a problem thanks to BLE and a connection to a smartphone, which can keep the RTC's base time updated.

One upgrade with the new version of the watch is a larger battery. He estimates that now the Time Machine Mark V should run for about a month on a CR2032 coin cell battery. One of the largest consumers of battery life is the 7-segment displays.

Min admits that switching to display type would extend the battery's life, but is not happy with how it would look. But we have to agree that they are very striking and provide a retro look and feel.

If you would like to build your own, Min has made both the EAGLE design files and the code available on GitHub. For the firmware, there is the completed JavaScript and the start of a C++ version.

James Lewis
Fan of making things that blink, fly, or beep. Oscilloscopes for R&S, host on element14 Presents, baldengineer.com, AddOhms, and KN6FGY.
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