Cloud to Physical Hardware

Wander Watch is a compass that lights up in the direction of your destination. You can use an app to enter where you’re going, and then put the phone away. This is part of a series of products I’m creating that help undo our over-connected lives.

This project was created for a course titled Expressive Interfaces: Introduction to Fashion Technology, and taught at ITP at NYU.

A slide deck can be found here.


Role: Ideation, concept development, physical design, fabrication, and coding.

Tools: Bluetooth LE, Cordova Phone Gap app, Don Coleman’s Bluetooth library, Javascript, Google Maps API, Tinkercad, 3D printers, Flora microcontroller, Flora Bluetooth LE module, Neopixel ring, webbing, velcro, thread and needle for strap.

How It Works

The user opens the app, selects a destination, and sends it to the watch using Bluetooth LE. The phone provides all the sensor data to the watch. The watch lights up in the direction of the destination. The watch itself is 3D printed and encloses a stack of components.

Creative Process

Stage 1 - Concept Development

  • Brainstormed what a wearable navigation piece might look like.

  • Illustrated the look and feel of the watch.


Stage 2 - Research

I anticipated working with a fairly complex system of interlocking parts. I researched software and hardware options, and below is what I used.


  • Tom Igoe’s Making Things Talk book. Chapter 10 covers phone apps and Bluetooth technology.

  • Software:

  • Don Coleman’s free plugin to use Bluetooth LE to connect a phone app with a peripheral device.

  • Google Maps API’s Geometry Library which allows for calculating the heading (the angle between origin and destination).

Hardware and Materials:

  • Flora microcontroller

  • Flora Bluetooth LE module

  • Neopixel Ring

  • Webbing strap

  • Velcro

  • Tape and Tack

  • 3D printed case

  • Acrylic compass face

Stage 3 - Code

Step by step, I assembled together my working code.

  • Confirmed bluetooth connectivity using Flora microcontroller & Bluetooth module with Bluefruit app to confirm connectivity

  • Sent commands to turn on and off specific Neopixel ring LEDs

  • Downloaded and set up Don Coleman’s Cordova Phonegap app example

  • Used app to send commands to Neopixels

  • InsertedGoogle Maps API Heading code into Bluetooth app.

  • Replaced one map pin with phone’s actual location.


Stage 4 - Fabrication

Meanwhile, I developed and printed the physical design of the watch.

  • Researched 3D printed watch designs online.

  • Created my own unique design in Tinkercad, including a tailored closing mechanism and opening for the strap.

  • Printed test examples on the Ultimaker 3D printers at ITP.

  • Printed a final prototype at NYU’s LaGuardia print shop on the Mojo printer.

  • Assembled strap by sewing velcro for an adjustable fit.