When I was 17 and had graduated from high school, I got my first cell phone; it had the game ‘Snake’ on it, to add to the fun of my very first mobile device, and I was pretty impressed. It even lit up in different colors when it rang, and I felt pretty rad when I’d flip it open to answer. I showed my 8-year-old niece Snake a little while ago, just for fun, and she got bored, snagged my mom’s smartphone, and immediately downloaded and started playing a much more colorful, interactive game.
While games like Snake are a fun bit of nostalgia for those of us who grew up with green and black computer screens, kids these days have higher standards–higher-tech, anyway.
We’ve seen some pretty inventive youths taking the tech bull by the horns lately, and 3D design and printing technologies are encouraging makers to bring their visions to life at ever younger ages. In much the same way that my parents were impressed when I needed a graphing calculator for middle school math, I now have to stand back in awe when I see kids’ school supplies as STEAM curricula really takes hold and these youths are able to put together high-tech creations that are somehow intuitive to them.
When we at 3DPrint.com heard about Quin Etnyre, the 14-year-old maker and CEO of Qtechknow, we were duly impressed–but we weren’t by any means the only ones inspired by this young man’s entrepreneurship. Back when Etnyre was only 12 years old, he served as inspiration to an even younger maker, when Omkar Govil-Nair attended his second Maker Faire. Omkar, 8 years old now, has maintained his interest in electronics and programming, and since gaining his inspiration from the Qtechknow story, he has “wanted to make [his] own product.”
Keeping up with the times, Omkar has been working with Arduino technology since he was 6 years old. With a full quarter of his life developed to the technology, Omkar showcases his projects at the Internet of Things for Kids (IoT4Kids) community, which also maintains a Facebook page and an active Twitter account.
This 8-year-old has now introduced the 3D printed O Watch: “the first programmable watch for kids developed by a kid.”
“Introducing the O Watch: a kid’s programmable smartwatch. With the O Watch, you will be able to program games, like Rock, Paper, Scissors, and…make programs that will calculate values, such as the value of pi,” says Omkar. “The O Watch is made using an Arduino-compatible core…Arduino is an awesome platform for kids like me to get started with programming.”
The O Watch appears to be an incredible achievement for kids, by a kid–and Omkar certainly understands what would appeal to his target demographic. The Arduino-powered O Watch, with a 3D printed housing, features any number of apps and uses for kids, from the fairly straightforward–time-telling–to somewhat more advanced functions–a compass or thermometer might come in handy!–and of course some games, too. Its programmable nature leaves the uses and capabilities open to the imaginations of young makers.
“Since it is a fully Arduino-compatible product in a tiny package, you can do a lot more–pretty much anything that is possible using a regular Arduino board and a color screen. You will also learn how to do 3D design,” Omkar says. “I need your support to back my project, to bring this–the O Watch–to you!”
Omkar’s watch kit will be debuting on a crowdfunding platform this month in order to bring the idea into a reality that can be made accessible to more kids around the world. With an incentive for early bird backers to the project, you might want to keep an eye out for the launch–fortunately, you can sign up to receive notice when the campaign goes live.
Two versions will be available:
- Base Watch Kit: Arduino Zero-based programmer board with integrated color OLED screen, LiPo batter, 3D printed watch case, paracord strap
- Smartwatch Kit: All of the above, as well as a sensor board with an integrated 3-axis compass and temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity sensors
Omkar will also be showing his watch off next month at the NYC Maker Faire, running September 26-27. Is this a watch your kids might be interested in? Have you heard of similar projects from young makers? Join the discussion in the 3D Printed O Watch for Kids forum thread over at 3DPB.com. Check out Omkar’s video introducing the project: