Forget The Apple Watch - Get The One You Really Need
Written by Lucy Black   
Thursday, 02 April 2015

Programmers aren't generally the showy types, but when it comes to smart watches our choice goes well beyond stupid chunks of wrist jewellery of the sort Apple produces. We have our very own smart watch and what's smart is us, not the watch!

There are only 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary and those who don't. The ones that do would find binary wristwatch something that sets them apart from the ones who don't. 




There have been binary watches before, and you can find plenty of alternative models, but this one is a hand built project using a PIC microcontroller. The display is based on twelve high power LEDs running at a much lower current to keep the battery life long. Two small push buttons complete the UI. You can opt to display time or date - but in binary of course. A really nice touch is the use of the programming ribbon cable for a strap! If you read the detailed construction notes you will discover that this was much more difficult than you might guess. 

Take a look at the video:


There is also an account of the actual production process, which if you only know about soldering components with wires is quite an eye-opener. Modern micro-electronic construction is a difficult engineering skill, but it can be done on a small scale if you are prepared to acquire the necessary hardware - a modified toaster oven and temperature controller in this case!



If you don't like the idea of taking your toaster oven to pieces, then you can buy a finished product exactly as illustrated, i.e. no gold or sapphire case and certainly no leather strap, for just $35. The only problem is that at the time of writing they are sold out.

You could always try one of the more commercial units if you can't wait, but for me the raw hardware look is worth waiting for. 

The Apple Watch is for users....




Originally Spotted by Dangerous Prototypes

More Information

The Binary Wristwatch

Binary Watch Production

Binary Watch (Black)

Related Articles

Microsoft Band Gets An SDK       

Android Comes To Wearables And Watches       

Program your wrist watch       


To be informed about new articles on I Programmer, install the I Programmer Toolbar, subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on, Twitter, FacebookGoogle+ or Linkedin,  or sign up for our weekly newsletter.



Sinusoidal Tetris

This is just for fun and education, but it suggests that there might be other games waiting to be thought up along the same lines.

Zed Editor Is Open Source

Zed, the code editor developed by the creators of Atom and Tree-sitter, has been made open source. Zed is a high-performance, multiplayer code editor.

More News


raspberry pi books



or email your comment to:




Last Updated ( Thursday, 02 April 2015 )