By now a lot of people have had ‘great ideas’ for connected devices that up until now would have required weeks of research and development and a healthy dose of perseverance. While one could certainly test their ideas on a Raspberry Pi or other development board, the overall physical size prohibited creating anything wearable. New company MetaWear aims to change all of that and rapidly speed up development time with their newly-released ARM+Bluetooth LE platform that is barely the size of a quarter. Currently on Kickstarter for $30, it just might be the perfect weekend project kit to pair with your 3D printer.

Connected Hardware in 30 Minutes

Consisting of a tiny BLE wearable development board that is fully production ready, all that one would seemingly need to create the next great connected wearable device is a 3D printed housing and a little bit of programming knowledge. With the option of being able to control vibrations, LEDs, motors and even collecting data from sensors over Bluetooth, the MetaWear platform is essentially only limited by a designer’s imagination:

“We love development boards, they are great for prototyping but they can only take you so far. Traditional development boards have a lot of shortcomings including size, cost, and scalability. A Raspberry-PI doesn’t fit into a necklace, a bracelet, or a shirt. You cannot send an Arduino prototype to a factory or ship it to your customers door. MetaWear removes the step between prototype and fabrication; it is built with simplicity and manufacturability in mind.”

1198a64845a026437d94e33c8f57d882_large

While the device will certainly take a little bit of programming knowledge to really standout (or just hire a freelance programmer for the day), MetaWear has taken it upon themselves to supply a hefty amount of resources to get you up and running via GitHub:

“We wrote the firmware on the ARM Core for you. That means you don’t need to write convoluted C or hire a firmware engineer at $300/hour to develop your prototype. That frees you up to focus on your App and the user experience of your product. Our simple mobile API means you have a working product from the start. Now all you have to do is customize the MetaWear sample App for your end application.”

7e537e68b966362dad5c1c88488075ff_large

17b55f143da78bd5b74d03bdabddfc4f_large

57fee5a0db3d5b527136b50fbd4f03d1_large

Specs

  • Nordic Bluetooth and ARM Cortex M0 SoC
  • 3.7V Long lasting battery
  • Micro-USB rechargeable
  • 2 digital I/O pins
  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • Tilt, orientation, and freefall detect
  • Bright RGB LED with animations
  • Vibrating round coin motor
  • Simple 32kHz Buzzer
  • Temperature Sensor
  • Micro push-button

For $30, it just might be the perfect thing to keep in the workshop for when that ‘wild and crazy’ idea pops up.

(Images via MetaWear)

Author

Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.