Strapping An Apple II To Your Body

Now that the Apple wristwatch is on its way, some people are clamoring with excitement and anticipation. Rather than wait around for the commercial product, Instructables user [Aleator777] decided to build his own wearable Apple watch. His is a bit different though. Rather than look sleek with all kinds of modern features, he decided to build a watch based on the 37-year-old Apple II.

The most obvious thing you’ll notice about this creation is the case. It really does look like something that would have been created in the 70’s or 80’s. The rectangular shape combined with the faded beige plastic case really sells the vintage electronic look. It’s only missing wood paneling. The case also includes the old rainbow-colored Apple logo and a huge (by today’s standards) control knob on the side. The case was designed on a computer and 3D printed. The .stl files are available in the Instructable.

This watch runs on a Teensy 3.1, so it’s a bit faster than its 1977 counterpart. The screen is a 1.8″ TFT LCD display that appears to only be using the color green. This gives the vintage monochromatic look and really sells the 70’s vibe. There is also a SOMO II sound module and speaker to allow audio feedback. The watch does tell time but unfortunately does not run BASIC. The project is open source though, so if you’re up to the challenge then by all means add some more functionality.

As silly as this project is, it really helps to show how far technology has come since the Apple II. In 1977 a wristwatch like this one would have been the stuff of science fiction. In 2015 a single person can build this at their kitchen table using parts ordered from the Internet and a 3D printer. We can’t wait to see what kinds of things people will be making in another 35 years.

20 thoughts on “Strapping An Apple II To Your Body

  1. I can just see it, 35 years from now…
    The equivalent of an i7 gaming rig with 16GB of RAM, a 8GB graphics card and 10TB storage, emulated on a much faster machine, packed into an (by that time ancient) “old” Sony Ericsson smart phone.
    [They’d be wondering how we ever managed to squeeze so much functionality out of so little memory and processing power, let alone wrote the code by hand.]

    1. Yup. There’s quite a few things that as a child I suggested we’d have one day, some only in jest, and have been far surpassed. Also getting very close now to where my PC has as much memory as the cyborg superhero “Rom” (Marvel Comics). IIRC when I read it in the late 80’s, he was claimed to have 15TB; a number the writers undoubtedly chose because it seemed completely ludicrous.

      1. I remember a RadioShack salesman predicting back in the early ’80’s of a “1 Megabit RAM chip” and I thought,
        No Way is that going to happen!

        I think K.I.T.T in the Knight Rider TV series once bragged that he had 3 TB of RAM

        1. “I think K.I.T.T in the Knight Rider TV series once bragged that he had 3 TB of RAM”

          That would be one heavy Firebird, then. I believe the largest RAM chips you could get back then were around 1MB, which means K.I.T.T. would have been packing over 3 million chips in his trunk.

        2. I rub my students’ noses in this – I have a sales display clamshell (folded plastic case) for a 64Mb SD card that’s the size of a magazine (so people wouldn’t steal it). When I told them the chip was worth upwards of $75 in today’s money they choke.

    2. nope. It’ll be a wristwatch. Input will be via gestural monitoring. The display will be virtual via ultra lightweight glasses. The glasses will be networked via skin surface conductance. Additional biometric monitors and input devices will be available

  2. Someone has to mention it: easrlier this week there was a hackaday in which someone got an Apple II emulator working on an Arduino Due…

    This would be next level if it ran apple software and was programmed in Woz-BASIC

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