Due to the successes of the ever expanding maker revolution, it’s becoming more and more evident that 3D printers and basic programming need to be integrated into schools to prepare children for their future. Its therefore fantastic to see that children are already picking up making themselves. Just look at the eight-year-old aspiring programmer and maker Omkar Govil-Nair, who has already developed his very own 3D printed O Watch smartwatch and plans to make it available everywhere through a crowdfunding campaign.
Now we sometimes come across inspiring children who are so quickly and easily taking up programming and 3D printing, but few are as successful as Omkar. Like most eight-year-olds, he will be starting fourth grade this year and loves Star Wars, James Bond and badminton. But unlike most, he also loves working with Arduinos and 3D printing. ‘I got interested in electronics and programming 3 years back when I attended my 2nd Maker Faire. I was inspired by Quin Etnyre then the 12 year old CEO of Qtechknow. Since then I wanted to make my own product,’ he explains about his fascination.
But more than doing just a bit of tinkering, he has actually developed this cool-looking O Watch, an Arduino-based programmable smartwatch that is intended to give kids a bit of experience with programming and 3D design. Planning to bring this cool watch to market, it will come with a complete set of components that can be used to build the watch yourself and customize it with 3D printed cases and colorful straps.
As Omkar explained to 3ders.org, he was inspired by all the buzz around smartwatches. ‘I wanted one for myself. I was doing some Arduino project and decided to make my watch using Arduino compatible components. I thought it will be great if other kids can also make their own watches and that is how the idea was created. I always wanted to have my own company after I read about Quin Etnyre of Qtechnow and met him at Maker Faire in 2014, so looking to launch a crowd funding project,’ he explains. ‘I want to make this kit available with easy-to-use web instructions for other kids like me to make their own smartwatches and learn 3D printing and programming.’
As he goes on to explain, the O Watch is essentially an Arduino IDE build intended for basic use through four buttons. ‘You can program it using Arduino IDE. You can program it to function as a watch with date and time functions from Arduino, you can make games and apps and with the sensor board model you can also measure temperature, humidity, pressure as well as make a compass,’ he says. An integrated color OLED screen and a LiPo batter finishes the kit. One example that the boy already made is a rock-paper-scissors app, illustrating that it is a perfect option for learning some basic programming.
What’s more, Omkar did a lot of the work himself and the rest with the help from his dad. ‘I started learning 3D design using Sketchup about 6 months back with help from my dad and Sketchup video tutorials,’ he explains. They then started designs for a case about five months ago, with an eye on the Bay Area Maker Faire. ‘We tried several designs and printed many versions before we got the basic working model we used for the Maker Faire in May. After that we further improved it a bit to make the edges rounded,’ he explains. All 3D printed parts were completed on a Printrbot Simple Metal and in PLA, with a case taking anywhere between twenty and forty-five minutes to 3D print depending on the settings used.
This fun and impressive watch looks perfect for educational purposes, so it’s fantastic to hear that Omkar and his dad are also planning a crowdfunding campaign, which is set to launch later this month. The specific goal will be to raise funds for further improving designs and developing templates that can be easily used by children for customization and 3D printing options. The father and son duo are also aiming to develop two kits: one with the basic O Watch, and the second with an additional sensor board with a wide range of sensors for more build options. In short, plenty to keep an eye on. You can find the O Watch website here.
by Alec | Aug 17, 2015