Autumn Smart Watch

Interview Questions by Stephanie Driver, Answers by Desmond Ting, Edited and Published by Stacey Driver.

Desmond Ting, is a student currently studying at the University of Bristol. He has been a faithful customer to Ragworm during the development of his latest project but it was his enthusiasm and passion that bought him to our attention when we met him at the Bristol Mini Maker Faire back in August of this year.

We have been trying to contact Desmond since the event but he has been so busy getting his project ready for its official launch at DigiMakers that he has only just had a spare spot in his schedule to fit us in.

It is Desmond’s sheer zest and love of electronics alongside his extreme modesty that we wanted to share with you in this feature article. We hope you will enjoy hearing about his journey and his project as much as we did!

What are you currently studying and why did you choose the subject?

“I am currently studying electrical and electronics engineering at the university of Bristol. I chose it out of pure interest and because I believe it will provide me with the necessary skills to achieve bigger goals someday.”

What has been your proudest achievement?

“I am very proud of getting into Bristol university. But best of all is being able to achieve what other people say it would be impossible for me to do.”
What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

“For me, I have to say is overcoming my low self-esteem. I am not a very confidant person and whenever I do a project, I am very afraid of showing it to other people having the fear of rejection. But I have great support especially from the people who share the same vision as me. My supervisor Caroline is probably the person that helped me the most both in handling this current project as well as boosting my confidence. I guess the most important thing is to be with people that support you and give constructive criticism.”

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

“Definitely my mother. She invested so much money on my early days of electronics. Buying Arduino and Raspberry Pis while I still had no idea about electronics back then. That is why I named this project after her. She is a chemistry teacher and does not know much about electronics. And I am very grateful to have her support. without her, I would not be able to do what I have done today.”

You’ve sent a few boards in through Ragworm…What project are you building up with these?

“I was building a Smart Watch that people can reprogram. I have written a basic code that allows the user to read notifications from their phone on their watch. It can also play games provided someone writes a good game for the watch. I have written my own version of flappy birds on the watch just to show people that this can be done. The watch can be programmed from the Arduino IDE which makes it easy for anybody to use. The idea was to run a workshop to inspire younger participants to be interested in the field of engineering and computer science. The workshop will be run by the University of Bristol under DigiMakers.”

What inspired you to build these wearables?

“I love the idea of wearable technology, but they were always so expensive. One day, my housemate came back with a pebble watch strapped to his wrist and I thought to myself, what a brilliant idea and I wanted one. But the price of the watch was not a figure that I can afford. So I just started designing my own watch, one that I could afford. So I started with an Arduino and a Bluetooth module. After some playing around, I found a way to get notifications on my phone to be displayed on the Arduinos serial monitor. One thing led to another and I came up with a prototype that worked as a smart watch but it was not refined. Over the summer, I learned how to design PCBs and got the university to sponsor this development to further refine my designs. After 2 months of hard work, the Autumn Smart Watch was completed.”

What outcome would you like for these – is this a personal project or the start of business venture?

“That is a very interesting question. It started out as a personal project, but I wanted it to be more than that. However, I have no vision for it to be a profitable product. So the university has kindly asked me to help run a workshop were I am given the opportunity to share this with those who attend the workshop. The idea is that this watch is so cheap to make, that we can afford to even give them out for free if we have funding. We want to encourage people to the field of engineering and my hope is that through this project, people can see the interesting side of engineering.”

The following link is for my write up on this project

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