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ESP32-Powered DIY Smartwatch

Reporting from Shanghai, China
Feb 28, 2022

MutantW is an ESP32-powered open-source smartwatch.

An independent maker known as “rahmanshaber” recently presented an open-source smartwatch, called MutantW, which is both compact in size and hackable, unlike other such designs available on the market.

The 44-millimeter DIY smartwatch has size that is to commercial smartwatches. However, you can build the MutantW with 3D-printed parts, off-the-shelf components, and a small custom PCB. An Espressif module of the ESP32-WROOM series powers the MutantW. The output comes from a 1.7-inch, 240x280 RGB LCD. The display uses a flex ribbon cable, which connects the ESP32-WROOM module and the SPI-based screen.

Photo of MutantW parts, courtesy of rahmanshaber

Along with the TFT LCD, feedback comes in two forms. First, a WS2812B RGB LED, also known as a NeoPixel, provides visual indications. The other feedback mechanism is tactile with a vibration motor. In addition, as the hackster.io writer, James Lewis, mentions: “developers can use two SMD push-buttons to interact with the smartwatch, since the screen does not have a touch interface”.

The watch can communicate with other devices over either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. MutantW also supports (re-)programming over-the-air, which eliminates 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, or just watch the relevant YouTube video. There is also a GitLab repo with the code, PCB, and mechanical parts for 3D printing.

Photo of MutantW, courtesy of rahmanshaber

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