About this project
Read more about these, as well as some additional ideas in this update.
Hexiwear is a wearable development kit for the Internet of Things era. A small and sleek, low-power device packed with sensors to quantify yourself and the world around you. Wirelessly enabled, it can connect both to devices nearby – or to cloud servers far away. Its greatest feature? The new and original firmware you will develop.
Above all, Hexiwear is a foundation for your own inventions. It comes with several preloaded apps to give you a flying start. From there, you can use it to build a smartwatch, a remote sensor tag, or expand it into a sophisticated smarthome controller.
The six sides represent the six reasons why Hexiwear is so great:
- Compact wearable form factor
- Low power
- Availability (open source)
In order to build this kit with the best technology available, we partnered with NXP Semiconductors. We designed and produced the first batch. Now, we are asking for your support. Makers, start-ups, students, and R&D engineers will all benefit from this IoT development platform. You will benefit from the "coolness" of using this device as an end product.
Our chief designer for this project has a background in designing jewelry and Las Vegas gaming machines. Here’s the story.
When we first set out to build a wearable development kit, we figured we’ll design a reasonably small PCB and encase it – we approached the problem from an engineer’s point of view. But then we realized that “wearable” can mean two things:
Capable of being worn; suitable to be worn.
A barebones PCB board is capable of being worn. But we wanted to raise the bar on what can qualify as a wearable development kit and make something that both engineers and non-engineers alike want to wear and show-off to their friends. After all, the modern consumer has high expectations of product design. A device’s “smartness” is conveyed by its look and feel as much as by the hardware inside.
It was a challenge for our hardware engineers to fit in all the required electronics. The small footprint of NXP parts helped. Inside the casing is a mainboard made of 6-layer PCB, and another board on top to host the capacitive buttons.
The end result is a development kit your non-developer friends will want to wear.
Think how important that is. Wearable devices require extensive field testing. You’ll be able to get your prototypes worn by many people. The feedback gained will then enable you to go through cycles of improvement much faster.
Electronic products have to be responsive and autonomous. Otherwise, even the most futuristic device can trigger people’s stone-age instincts. Slow, unresponsive menus and short-lasting batteries cause frustration, anger, even rage.
Working together with NXP, a market leader in microcontrollers, we put much thought in choosing hardware components for Hexiwear. After numerous iterations, the final design achieves that perfect balance of computing power and low power consumption for accessing sensor readings, transmitting data through Bluetooth, and interacting with the device through its inputs and the built-in OLED display. Here's what's inside:
- MCU: NXP Kinetis K64 MCU (ARM® Cortex®-M4, 120 MHz, 1M Flash, 256K SRAM)
- BLE: NXP Kinetis KW4x (ARM® Cortex®-M0+, Bluetooth Low Energy & 802.15.4 Wireless MCU)
- 3D Accelerometer and 3D Magnetometer: NXP FXOS8700CQ
- 3-Axis Digital Gyroscope: NXP FXAS21002
- Absolute Digital Pressure sensor: NXP MPL3115A2R1
- 600 mA Single-cell Li-Ion/Li-Polymer Battery Charger: NXP MC34671
- Light-to-digital converter: TAOS TSL2561
- Digital humidity and temperature sensor: MEAS HTU21D
- Heart-rate sensor: Maxim’s MAX3010x
- 1.1” full color OLED display
- Haptic feedback engine
- 190 mAh 2C Li-Po battery
- Capacitive touch interface
- RGB LED
- 8 MB of additional Flash memory
Although it appears to be a very well designed end product, Hexiwear is a development platform. A do-anything device.
It can be outfitted for many purposes with different accessories. Use it as a wristwatch with a sporty bracelet. Or choose from a selection of multicolored soft covers that can be tied to a key-chain, hung from a necklace, or thumb-tacked to a wall.
But that’s not all.
The whole Internet of Things thing is an unexplored universe. The future tends to end up crazier than imagined. Biggest consequences come from inventions we never predicted. So instead of predicting, our idea is to equip developers with versatile, adaptable and expandable tools. Then, stand back and see what happens.
Hexiwear's core functionality can be enhanced with hundreds of additional sensors, actuators and transceivers of all kinds. All you need to do is park it on the Hexiwear Docking Station.
With three mikroBUS™ sockets for click boards™, adding a new functionality is plug and play. Add more wireless connectivity options, different interfaces, motor controllers, input devices, displays – the options are too many to number – all without worrying about resistance, capacitance and suchlike.
Hexiwear is by itself just a single piece of the IoT equation.
The integrated Bluetooth Low Energy module makes it compatible with countless devices – not just earpieces, keyboards, tablets, laptops or phones – nowadays you have BLE-enabled socks, shoes, water bottles. Find new ways to incorporate them into your own IoT eco-system.
SMARTPHONE APPS AND OTAP
Once you pair a phone with a Hexiwear you can access the readings from all the sensors, or turn individual sensors on and off (using Hexiwear as a remote sensor tag).
Both apps also support Over The Air Programming (OTAP). So you can completely reimagine the behavior on the fly.
Each Hexiwear user gets access to a private cloud where all the sensor readings can be sent and stored. Analyze the data to find patterns and trends; turn seemingly random numbers into knowledge. The ultimate goal is to optimize some aspect of your daily reality.
ABOUT WOLKABOUT (OUR CLOUD PARTNER)
WolkAbout is an Internet of Things company which delivers tailor-made IoT solutions with the shortest time to market. Secure and scalable IoT platform enables connectivity to the Internet for devices. Highly experienced team of engineers provides customizable mobile and web applications for data monitoring and data management. Through our consortium partners, WolkAbout becomes the one stop shop for companies that want to improve their business processes by making their products smart.
When you set up a user account for the Hexiwear smartphone app, you automatically gain access to the WolkSense cloud.
Hexiwear is completely open-source and is functional out of the box. Several built-in apps showcase how the sensors and the interface works: Fitness App, Weather Station, Compass, Motion detector.
The Kinetis Design Studio project is Open Source. You will be able to use the source code as a starting point to develop your own firmware. In fact you can download it right away from GitHub. Hexiwear will not be truly yours until it is loaded with your HEX file.
KINETIS DESIGN STUDIO
Kinetis Design Studio (KDS) is a free integrated development environment for Kinetis MCUs. Based on open-source software, Eclipse, GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), GNU Debugger (GDB), and others, Kinetis Design Studio IDE offers designers a simple development tool with no code-size limitations.
Ultimately, Hexiwear is a means to an end. Like a space shuttle that jettisons its rocket boosters after generating enough thrust, eventually you will want to move beyond Hexiwear and design your own device.
Complete layouts, schematics, and Altium design files will be at your disposal.
Here at MikroElektronika, we have been designing development tools for over a decade. Long before the term "Internet of Things" came into vogue.
Hexiwear is our contribution to the community. For developers, it makes the journey from project idea to a market-ready product a short one. It is a watch that not only tells you the time, but more importantly, saves you time as well.
With our partners we have come together to make this project possible. We need your support to justify further development.
Send us your feedback, spread the word, and please pledge your support today, to help us breathe life into Hexiwear.
In creative hands Hexiwear can be almost anything. Here's a few possible applications, but we leave it to your imagination to make the list longer.
The majority of the work has been done. The hardware is ready for serial production. We even have the packaging. We need three more weeks to polish the firmware before shipping units.
In the Kickstarter spirit of openness, here's some raw unedited footage that showcases the functionality of Hexiwear apps, and the sensor tag mode:
Here's how the WolkSense cloud connectivity works:
How Over The Air Programming works:
Or alternatively, how to program it through the Hexiwear Docking Station:
While we perfect the firmware, we will simultanously improve the design of the bracelet.
- Early bird shipping: April
- Regular shipping: May
Our company has been designing and producing development tools for more than a decade. From hardware design through software development, to manufacturing and distribution, we do everything in-house. The agility and speed at which we can deliver projects made as a favorable partner for helping several crowd-funding projects succeed (hardware and firmware for Wunderbar, hardware redesign for Flowpaw, clicker boards for Ci40 Creator Kit). Now, for the first time, we are presenting our own solution to the Kickstarter community.
Srdjan Tomic – Project lead, Head of Hardware Department
Srdjan joined MikroElektronika fresh out of college as a software engineer, when the company comprised few people in a small apartment in Belgrade. He worked his way up to senior status, rising up to assume project management roles (one such project was hardware and firmware development for Wunderbar, the crowd-funded IoT chocolate-bar that MikroElektronika helped bring to market). After several successful projects under his belt, Srdjan was promoted to Head of Hardware, a role which involves overseeing all aspects of product development - from design, to component procurement, to manufacturing. Reliable and relentless when pursuing a goal, Srdjan is the ideal guy to ensure Hexiwear gets delivered on time.
Aleksandar Nikolic – Hexiwear early conception.
Aleksandar Nikolic was part of MikroElektronika’s product design team when Hexiwear was first conceived. Possesing a rare mix of talents, Aleksandar started off at MikroE as a tech support engineer. His background in graphic design coupled with an obsession with user experience helped him rise up to be head of Marketing. The role of Product manager, however, allowed him to focus on expressing his ideas on what a dev kit for IoT should be. During this productive period he conceived Hexiwear. Another project he was involved in was FlowPaw, a Kickstarter-funded educational kit. Aleksandar eventually moved to other roles (currently in charge of refurbishing MikroE's website).
Dragan Regodic – Senior Hardware Engineer
A true maker if there ever was one – Dragan Regodic is a self-taught experienced hardware designer. His expertise doesn't come from formal education, but from decades of learning and perfecting his craft by reading books and building projects on his own out of pure passion. In a previous career he actually worked in a printing office which gave him access to electronics books and magazines - including those published by MikroElektronika. His spirit, dedication, focus, and outstanding problem-solving skill make him a role-model for our younger staff. Dragan was the hardware design lead for Hexiwear.
Darko Jolic – Senior Software Engineer
A long-time member of the MikroElektronika software team which brought mikroC, mikroBasic and mikroPascal compilers to the world, Darko would be an asset to any SW development project on the planet. The tougher the problem, the shorter the deadline – the more you can expect from Darko. His deep knowledge of ARM® technologies and an understanding of UI Architecture in particular, qualified him to be the chief Software engineer for developing the HexiWear firmware. Darko was also heavily involved in developing the firmware for Wunderbar, applying the knowledge to Hexiwear.
Marko Lainovic – Junior Software Engineer
Recruited from our Intern's Lab into the SW department, Marko is a promising young developer with an interest in biomedical applications of sensory technology. Working on a wearable development kit allowed him to explore those interests, so he went into it with no regrets – completely dedicating himself to the Hexiwear project spending days and nights perfecting the Hexiwear firmware.
Iztok Ceh – Industrial Designer
An internationally experienced industrial designer, Iztok is responsible for the look and feel of Hexiwear. Specializing in user ergonomics, serigraphy, and with a strong technical knowledge of materials and engineering practices, Iztok brought a unique mix of skills to the project. Before coming to MikroElektronika he designed jewelry, gaming machines, even command bridges for ocean-fairing ships. Iztok took our initial designs, which looked like hexagonal-shaped boxes for PCBs, and infused them with an organic feel. The goal was to achieve a look that would be appealing as a wearable, but also versatille enough for a variety of possible applications.
Aleksandar Golubovic – Senior Hardware Engineer
Aleksandar is an experienced hardware designer and long-time member of MikroElektronika's hardware team. He worked on some of the most well known MikroE boards, such as mikromedias and different "Easy" boards. He set the initial direction for Hexiwear's hardware design, solving many of the early design challenges (such as packing all the components into such a small form factor). In the meantime he departed MikroE to go after other career opportunities, but it is his work upon which all the others built upon.
Dr. Djordje Marinkovic – Chief Business Development Officer
As CBDO of MikroElektronika, DJ keeps a long-term outlook on the company's strategic direction. Among other things, he uses his business savvy (coming from decades of experience working at companies like Hilti, Siemens, and Texas Instruments where he was University Program Manager) to position MikroElektronika in relations to our partners. His clear insights into the inner workings of the semiconductor industry, the needs and expectations of the market, helped establish a relationship with NXP which ultimately enabled Hexiwear to be created.
Risks and challenges
At this point there is very little risk involved with Hexiwear. The hardware is ready for production, we have sourced the components, and we do the manufacturing in-house. Also, MikroElektronika is an established company with a reputation to uphold, and we were already involved in a Kickstarter projects which was successfully delivered (FlowPaw) We need a few more weeks to integrate some firmware improvements (and use the time to perfect the bracelet design). The risk of backing this project is extremely low. The first prototypes are being demonstrated the week of February 23 at the Embedded World conference in Nuremberg, Germany.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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