Umut Sevdi's WearPico Turns a Raspberry Pi Pico W Into an RP2040-Powered Smartwatch Platform

A bare-metal C program, this open source firmware comes with a companion Android app for remote control and more.

Gareth Halfacree
5 months agoWearables / HW101

Developer Umut Sevdi has released an open source firmware designed to turn the Raspberry Pi Pico W, or another board based on the dual-core RP2040 microcontroller, into a smartwatch: WearPico.

"Wearable technologies are becoming increasingly important in today’s world. Among them, smartwatches are the most widely accepted technology among consumers," Sevdi explains of WearPico's origins as a senior project at the Yildiz Technical University's Department of Computer Engineering. "Within the scope of the project, I developed a smartwatch and an associated Android application that communicates with it. The smartwatch is designed as an embedded system without a full-fledged operating system."

The WearPico project turns a Raspberry Pi Pico W or other RP2040-board into a capable smartwatch platform. (📹: Umut Sevdi)

Designed for use with the Raspberry Pi Pico W or any other board that includes the RP2040 microcontroller — a dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ chip with 264kB of RAM and a clever Programmable Input/Output (PIO) block for defining custom hardware peripherals as state machines — and includes a range of features, starting of course with the ability to tell the time and set alarms and stopwatches.

Outside these features, what makes WearPico something for "smartwatches" rather than just "watches" is its smart connectivity to an external device — offering notifications, call-handling, and media playback control through integration with an Android app. Other abilities include fitness tracking — when the watch is built to Sevdi's specifications, which includes a round touchscreen display, accelerometer, buzzer, and motor for vibration feedback — note-taking, and temperature measurement.

"On the mobile side, [the] mobile application can respond to requests and messages sent by the smartwatch via Bluetooth," Sevdi explains of the other side of the project. "The application allows users to set alarms on the smartwatch and will manage background services such as notifications, calls, and media controls using Android services."

The project's source code is published to GitHub under the reciprocal GNU General Public License 3; the Android app source is in a separate repository under the same license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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