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Konstantin Dimitrov's Arduino Pro Mini NeoPixel Pixie Watch

Gareth Halfacree

Konstantin Dimitrov's Pixie watch

Smartwatches are all the rage these days, with wrists the world over more adorned than they've been since the digital watch heydays of the 1970s and 1980s. Most, though, are far from cheap - which is where Konstantin Dimitrov's Pixie watch comes in.

Based around an Arduino Pro Mini board connected to a 12-LED NeoPixel ring, Konstantin - who was behind the DIY non-contact thermometer we covered earlier this year - designed the watch as a do-it-yourself project rather than as a fashion accessory. This is particularly visible in the cardboard casing and thick hook-and-loop strap, but the finished article certainly has charm - and, with the LEDs on full brightness, couldn't be accused of being subtle.

The Arduino Pro Mini drives the LED ring, measuring time through a DS1307 real-time clock (RTC) module. With only twelve individual LEDs, the time is displayed in a colour-coded fashion: the LEDs light up in blue to show the hours, minutes in red, and seconds in green. The watch also doubles as a wrist-mounted torch, activated through a capacitive touch-sensitive switch, though Konstantin warns that using it for more than about ten seconds heats the LEDs up to concerning levels.

In terms of 'smart' functionality, the features of Konstantin's Pixie watch end there; as an Arduino-based device, though, it's entirely possible to extend its capabilities. A barometric pressure sensor could give it the ability to detect weather, for example, while a Bluetooth module would allow it to communicate with a smartphone to display notifications. Doing so, though, will put strain on an already-taxed battery: Konstantin estimates that the 650mAh lithium-ion battery used in the project will run the unexpanded watch for around 13 hours between charges.

Full details and source code for the Pixie project can be found on Instructables.

Today I'll show you how to make Pixie, a wristwatch that combines both analog and digital clock technology with the precision of an atomic clock. PIXIE shows the hours in blue, the minutes in red andthe seconds in green, it also has a flashlight mode that is activated, by capacitive touch switch, for 10 seconds. You may ask why, that's because the LEDs heat-up and they might get damaged, but if you want, you can increase the time( at you own risk !)

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