A tech aficionado and do-it-yourself gadget builder with a lot of free time recently built his own Apple Watch using 3-D printing technology and the retro design of the Apple II. It even works… at least for telling time.
This parody of Apple’s upcoming wearable computing device hits the nail on the head, while being meticulously well made. It includes a “Digital Crown” (called a knob in this instance). It can display text and simple graphics. It also comes with, not one, but two disk drives. Apple doesn’t even offer that kind of flexibility on any of its mobile devices.
The main program uses an Arduino sketch running Teensy 3.1. The user interface is a rotary encoder, which powers the Digital Crown. When you spin the knob, it cycles through the sub-menu section, highlighting each line. Press the knob to enter the sub-menu.
As a clever addition to 40-year-old technology, in addition to the current date and time, the main screen displays the following sub-categories; fitness, pictures, weather, music, phone book, and disk manager — although most of those features don’t actually do much other than show a picture or some text, although the disk manager makes an LED light blink a few times.
The tiny floppy disks were made by using a high-res photo of a 7/8-inch disk, shrunk down and printed onto vinyl sticker paper. The 3-D printed casing was even painted using the “sickly beige” color of computers from the mid 1980s.
Say what you will about the Apple Watch, but this project is impressive. Not only did the guy make a clever commentary on the hype surrounding Apple Watch, but also he actually built a tiny working computer (albeit very limited) based on 40-year-old technology.
As noted in the Instructable project:
“Pricing & Availability Apple II will be available in early 1985 starting at $1299 (US). Apple II watch is compatible with Apple II or Apple II Plus, Apple III or Apple III Plus, Apple IIc, Apple IIe, Apple Lisa, and Macintosh running on ELECTRICITY.”