smartwatch Archive

Almost three years I published an article detailing how to remotely buzz yourself into an apartment building. In the time since, new technologies have made it even easier to interact with your home remotely. Below, I detail an updated remote door buzzer that works with mobile phones and even Apple Watches. Furthermore, the basic setup is extensible to lighting systems and any other action that can be controlled by a shell script.

Overview

The ultimate workflow is simple and is as follows:

  1. On your smartphone or Apple Watch, send a Yo to a custom-created recipient
  2. Your door buzzer will be activated

To achieve this, we’ll be using a custom-made circuit that electronically switches the door buzzer. To control the circuit remotely, we’ll be using a Raspberry Pi home server that will receive casually authenticated signals over the internet sent via the Yo app (https://dashboard.justyo.co/).

Required Gear

The following items will be used to create your phone-controlled door buzzer:

  • Raspberry Pi — Any Raspberry Pi model should work, but I’m using the Raspberry Pi Model B+. You’ll also need an SD card (micro SD in the case of the B+ model) with at least a few gigs of space, and all gear necessary

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Caroline was throwing fish to the largest dolphin — the big male called Scarback — when a gentle tickling on Floyd’s wrist announced an an incoming call. He tapped the slim metal band to quench the silent alarm and forestall the audible one, then walked to the nearest of the comsets scattered around the room.”

— 2010: Odyssey Two (1982)

After almost four weeks with the Pebble smartwatch I have to admit I’m pretty satisfied. I bought the Pebble out of curiosity and a love of new technology, but its proven itself and demonstrating staying power on my wrist. The Pebble is not all things to all people, and never will be, but for a limited set of uses it’s been a great addition to my daily load-out.

Number one, I love the notifications — that’s the biggest weakness of keeping a phone in your pocket. Either you need it to make a significant noise which is as likely to disrupt someone else as alert me, or it’s on vibrate in which case I find I miss a lot of calls and texts. Therefore, I was very happy with the pebble which provides subtle but clear alerts. I have yet to be

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I’m a newly minted Pebble owner — going on three days. As the novelty of receiving SMS and e-mail on my wrist becomes my new normal, I’ve been looking for more ways to use the device. Sitting in Starbucks only one hour ago, it occurred to me that I could replicate Starbucks’ digital payment method currently enabled by iOS Passbook (and its native app) on the Pebble e-watch. All I needed was enough real estate to show the barcode with sufficient resolution that the reader would pick it up. Apparently the Pebble has enough real estate even on its tiny 168×144 screen, and I have just bought my first drink paid for with my Pebble.

This being my first Pebble app, what follows is horribly ugly.

I knew that I wanted to use a watch face as a template. Pebble treats “watch faces” different than “watch apps” — the most important distinction being that you can access watch faces from the home watch view simply by hitting the up or down keys and scrolling through them. Watch apps (like calculators or games) are accessed through the selection button, then you scroll through all your app

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On Friday the WSJ reported that Google is actively working on both a smartwatch and a game console. Although a Samsung-developed Android watch has been in the pipeline for a while now, it’s a logical product initiative for Google, and one that I suspect they wish they’d prioritized over Glass.

The era of the smartwatch is upon us, while the era of marveling over the possibility of smart HUDs is perhaps beginning. Glass was always a bright and shiny thing that staked Google well ahead of the competition in terms of ambition and innovative creativity, but it is little more than a decorative jewel in its crown. The fact that a year will pass between its highly overpriced beta to actual market speaks to the fact that the technology is not ready. In the meantime, smartwatches exist and have proven popular with the common folk.

Watches are easy: they are unobtrusive yet convenient, appropriately sized screens can fit a reasonably large amount of information (see the iPod Nano), the device can be produced in a variety of fashions to suit individuals’ tastes, and today’s style prefers large watches anyway (at least for men). Eye

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You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. While the world drools in anticipation of the Pebble or an Apple or Samsung smartwatch, Nike is sitting idly by fielding a promising piece of tech on the JV team while it could be a runaway hit in the big leagues. I speak of the Nike Fuelband, the wristband with a white and RGB variable-brightness LED output, accelerometers, an input button, Bluetooth and USB interface, iOS interactivity, and a four-day battery life in a well-designed water-resistant package with three color options (see teardown here).

I’d be pretty excited if had that tech on hand to sell. It could alert me to and read txts and e-mails, it could give me some basic gesture input to an app, it could show caller id, etc… basically what the Pebble proposes to do, even if in a more spare LED graphical output. Nike has not only refused to market the product as a mobile-connected wearable output device, but it has actively opposed others’ attempts to liberate the device for such purposes. And so you get what we had here last week, which is the way they wants it:

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