Gesture Controlled Smartwatch

A larger, more functional smartwatch with gesture controllability

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The aim of this project is to design and build a wrist worn smart device which can be controlled using hand and finger gestures. Instead of retro fitting a current smartwatch on the market, I will redesigning the smartwatch from the ground up in order to give it a larger screen enabling more functionality from the device.

The overall idea is to use gestures of the hand to control the playback of music. A new way to input into a device as oppose to fingers and thumbs which so many smart devices these days rely on. To do this, multiple FSR sensors will be connected and read by an Arduino, which will then send this data to a Raspberry Pi. On the Raspberry Pi I will write, in Kivy,  a touchscreen application to simulate a smart devices interface, including a music player. The readings from the Arduino will then be used by the Pi to recognise certain gestures, associated with which will be an action. Such as playing a song, moving to the next song etc. 


As used and described in project log 'Sensor Control (09/02/19)'

ino - 1.31 kB - 03/04/2019 at 15:22


As used and described in project log 'Sensor Control (09/02/19)'

plain - 436.00 bytes - 03/04/2019 at 15:22


As used and described in project log 'Sensor Control (09/02/19)'

plain - 810.00 bytes - 03/04/2019 at 15:22



As used and described in project log 'Sensor Control (09/02/19)'

kv - 5.89 kB - 03/04/2019 at 15:22


As used and described in project log 'Sensor Control (09/02/19)'

plain - 2.95 kB - 03/04/2019 at 15:22


View all 12 files

  • 1 × Arduino Uno (REV 3) Development Board with Microcontroller
  • 1 × Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Single Board Computer
  • 1 × Adafruit PowerBoost 1000 Charger Board Rechargeable 5V Lipo USB Boost @ 1A
  • 1 × Adafruit Mono 2.5W Class D Audio Amplifier PAM8302
  • 1 × 2000mAh LiPo Battery Pack

View all 14 components

  • Project Update

    Thomas McKinney03/14/2019 at 22:46 0 comments

    Here's a video of the device 'smartwatch' in action: 

    Few things left to do still, want to finish off the GUI aesthetics, complete the Raspberry Pi House, attach the senors  and Arduino house to glove, attached the strap to the Raspberry Pi House. Then if time permits in this project, to move the sensors to the wrist strap and code the gestures to be recognised from those contact points. 

  • Raspberry Pi House #1

    Thomas McKinney03/14/2019 at 21:39 0 comments

    The Raspberry Pi House is coming together now. However I made a big error when it came to the charging access point, which has resulted in me having to cut out a hole. So the one side now is a bit ruined. If i have time towards the end of the project, I will reprint the case to improve its aesthetics. 

    Here's the side which a hole was required to be post assembled cut:

    Not terrible... right...? Haha

    Having the backing board for the speaker has increased its power tremendously. Now functions as a pretty good speaker for this size device. 

    I will measure up and print out the remaining sides to fill it in another time. To have this now though is another great step in the right direction. 

    I will post a video in my next log of it in working order to show where the projects at currently.

  • Raspberry Pi house

    Thomas McKinney03/14/2019 at 21:21 0 comments

    Now its time to design a housing/case for the Raspberry Pi. The main 'watch' aspect of the project. There are a lot of ports to take into account and I want to keep access to them all. I've compacted all the wiring and board into the final 'shape' so I know what kind of size i'm working with. 

    For the first time delving into electronics and taking on this kind of project, I'm pretty happy with the final thickness I've achieved here. 

  • Arduino House #2

    Thomas McKinney03/14/2019 at 21:18 0 comments

    So after tinkering with the dimensions, I have reprinted the Arduino Case, its lost a lot of size and is a perfect fit for the components it has to house, with the power connection point and Power LED held in position stably. 

  • Arduino House #1 - Too Big!

    Thomas McKinney03/14/2019 at 21:15 0 comments

    It seems I was a bit too generous with the dimensions of this first attempt. 

    After splicing and soldering all the wires down shorter, like so:

    And then after placing the sensor wiring/breadboard/arduino into the housing, it was apparent how much unused volume of space there was. 

    Also, placing it on the back of my hand, where this house will sit, shows just how large and cumbersome this house would be.

    Back to the drawing board to make a smaller version...

  • Arduino House #1

    Thomas McKinney03/14/2019 at 21:09 0 comments

    So using a mixture of 3D printing and Laser cutting and a quick mock up on CAD, I've made a first attempt for the Arduino House:

    Two holes on the front, one for the power/data transfer cable, the other for the green power indicator LED. One the back, a large hole for the sensors to pour out from. 

  • Power Light for Arduino House

    Thomas McKinney03/14/2019 at 21:04 0 comments

    I then realised that it would be very handy to know if the Arduino was getting power when it is inside this box., as the pre-manufactured light on the arduino board itself would not be visible anymore. 

    So using another little section of breadboard and a connection to one of the arduino's digital pins, a couple of lines of code later and it was sorted.

  • Shrinking down the Sensory Wiring on the Breadboard

    Thomas McKinney03/14/2019 at 21:04 0 comments

    To keep moving forward with the project I going to continue using the breadboard for the sensor wiring into the final concept device. 

    So after rewiring everything to be as small as possible:

    The idea is then this small section of breadboard and the arduino will sit in the 'Arduino House' case on the back of the hand, like so:

  • Separate Housing/Cases

    Thomas McKinney03/14/2019 at 21:04 0 comments

    I've decided to separate the Arduino and Raspberry Pi into different cases - as a space saving measure. I don't want this device to become too large for the wrist, to the point where it would become uncomfortable. 

    So I will have one case which will be the 'watch' which will house the Raspberry Pi, battery, speaker etc. And another case which will house the Arduino and sensors circuitry. This case will sit on the back of the hand. 

  • Sensor Circuitry - Making it smaller

    Thomas McKinney03/14/2019 at 20:54 0 comments

    I did originally plan on using stripboard for the final wiring of the sensors, however I think my electrics knowledge just isn't good enough... I designed the layout and attempted several times at the soldering of it - but no luck:

    Have I messed up with this design???

    Where the purple represents the sensor connection points. The green represents the resistors going to ground. And the red represents the power pathway and the wire connections back to analog.

View all 46 project logs

Enjoy this project?



stevieb.t97 wrote 03/16/2019 at 20:48 point

Pretty cool gadget bro

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alexander wrote 03/09/2019 at 17:40 point

Very cool and ambitious project! I have a few questions though:

Why are you using both an Arduino and a Raspberry Pi? If this is meant to be a smartwatch, wouldn't using just one make it much simpler? The functions being done by the Arduino could also be done by the RasPi. This is the one thing I am very confused about, reading through the project logs!

Glad you figured out the \0 problem. It's likely a byte that is present in the UART FIFO at boot or something. It would be possible to change this if you were to manipulate the registers directly, I imagine.

If you need any help or tips, feel free to message! I'd be happy to help.


  Are you sure? yes | no

Thomas McKinney wrote 03/09/2019 at 18:11 point

Hi Alexander, 

Thanks for the feedback, the reason for the Arduino is after my touchscreen clips on to all the GPIO pins I struggled to figure out a way to connect the sensors to the Pi too, and whether the breakout pins on the back of the screen would work. I've dropped you a message to further explain everything. 

Cheers, Tom

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Sophi Kravitz wrote 03/08/2019 at 18:41 point

If you design this with a flexible circuit in mind, you can enter our Flexible Circuit contest and potentially win a flexible version for the wrist-worn side.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Thomas McKinney wrote 03/09/2019 at 18:12 point

Hi Sophi,

Thanks for the heads-up, ill check it out. 

Cheers, Tom

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dusan Petrovic wrote 03/08/2019 at 16:35 point

Nice project!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Thomas McKinney wrote 03/09/2019 at 18:13 point

Thanks Dusan.

Cheers, Tom

  Are you sure? yes | no

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