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IWOWN i5+ BLE bracelet teardown with debug programming pins etc

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By drtune, Junior Member on 29th May 2016, 07:09 AM
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Hey I got one of these to do some hacking on - well, I got several of them, because taking one apart is very much a one-way trip.

As posted elsewhere, it's made of:
A 128x32 white OLED ( cdn-shop.adafruit.com/datasheets/UG-2832HSWEG02.pdf )
NRF51822 BLE chip (16K ram version)
Atmel ATmega16U2 (I assume to read the accelerometer at low power, but it also has USB - which appears to not be connected to the USB port unfortunately)
An accelerometer (STM C3H)
Azoteq IQS263 touch sensor (senses swipes and taps)
24C256 EEPROM connected to the Atmel
75mAh Lipo
..and some other stuff like a Lipo charger, vibration motor etc.
Typical cost is $15-$20 on ebay etc.

The cap-touch screen is quite good - detects swipes and taps reliably.
It's very well sealed - completely closed plastic molding. It looks to be fully waterproof to me.

Well... waterproof until I took a hacksaw to it. There's no way to disassemble it other than to (carefully) hacksaw/dremel the case open. Mine is still working fine, albeit in pieces..

I didn't see many photos of the guts online (just a couple) so or anyone else planning to hack on firmware for it, I found very convenient SWD and UART testpoints (under the OLED)...

Was figuring I might be able to find the time to do some alt firmware for it, because I quite like that Nordic chip, and it's a pretty decent waterproof BLE wrist-display with reasonable battery life (~7days people have said) and touch-sensor at a very attractive price.

I'll let you know what else I figure out about the hardware but first some teardown pics;
FULL PICS:
(oh man **** this forum not letting me post URLs... ok whatever, you figure this out..)
imgur.com/a/qTrSN

Samples images attached...

NOTE that test test points "RESET" and "CLK" are regular Cortex M0 SWDIO and SWDCLK, so just bust out the ST-Link/J-Link and have at it. Nice to have UART TX+RX too. Very civilized.

If I have time to get further into it I'll post more hw details on here.
Cheers,
DrTune
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30th May 2016, 01:37 AM |#2  
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Yep J-Link works fine
Nice, works fine connected to a J-Link, can program it with NRFgo Studio, debug with Keil uVision, etc. Cake.
Ok when I have a sec I'll do some custom firmware for this thing, personally I'm going to use it as a user interface for a GPS+radio project for Burning Man - the I5+ should be perfect for the Playa as it's completely sealed, has vibration, decent battery life, nice OLED.

I really like this bracelet as a programmable toy - nice CPU, great price. I doubt I'll ever get around to programming the Atmel in there or using the accelerometer (it's not what I'm after) but as a two-way messaging device it should fit the bill nicely.
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30th May 2016, 08:42 AM |#3  
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Well done my friend! Can't wait to see what you will come out with! Cheers
30th May 2016, 11:10 AM |#4  
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Do something perfect 👌 thank you

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30th May 2016, 12:09 PM |#5  
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Hm just thinking about it there's quite a lot of fun little things you can do with a cheap watch w/touch sensor that vibrates that are a bit awkward to do with a phone... bear in mind I'm super busy (I do this kinda thing for a living) and the BLE range is probably pretty poor, but...
a) Finder for those absurdly cheap ($3 or so) "finder" keyfobs, just display RSSI (signal strength) and it'd be somewhat useful; at least to give you a "warmer/colder" feedback on your distance to the tag.
b) Vibrate when your friend comes into range (or any BLE device that's advertising) and let you send simple emoticon messages (again the range won't be great, but enough for when you're in a bar or whatever), kinda like a really basic emoticon walkie-talkie. This would suck down quite a lot of battery (b/c of scanning for advertising packets) but it's a thought
c) some sort of basic morse-code style tapping messager
d) unlock your front door (use any old BLE device, e.g. a $4 CC2541 BLE-to-serial dongle hooked up to a FET or a relay)
e) assuming I can sort out reading the accelerometer, you've got basically a button/slider (the touchscreen) plus a very rough motion sensor; maybe make it a GATT HCI device like a mouse or keyboard (not sure what the OS support is like for those but it's doable)
f) You could certainly interface it to a Banana Pi (with a CSR BLE dongle) or a C.H.I.P. (which has built-in BLE)...
g) then there's all the stuff you can do with modern android/iOS phones and BLE; caller ID etc etc - much of this is covered by the current IWOWN firmware... Haven't look at it a huge amount but there's sure to be some fun stuff not yet done by the stock fw...
h) Depending what OSes have HID-over-GATT keyboard support, you could tap your watch to enter passwords (fairly insecurely, but hey it's a fun hack)..
i) Trivial to make the thing act as an Apple iBeacon (or any vendor beacon really, it's just a custom advertising packet) - and that would have excellent battery life. You could make it a beacon detector also but the battery life would suck horribly (I guess you could tap the watch to scan and it could buzz when it found an iBeacon and display some txt from it )
j) BLE scanner, probably most useful to have it scan for specific GATT profiles or ad packets or MAC address ranges or whatever; same battery life caveat applies but there might be a fun application.

...there's a lot of simple projects basically, it's quite a nice toy in some limited ways.... well like I say I don't have time to implement a lot of this but if I can stick some code up on Github maybe people will take the ball and run with it...
30th May 2016, 12:21 PM |#6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drtune

Hm just thinking about it there's quite a lot of fun little things you can do with a cheap watch w/touch sensor that vibrates that are a bit awkward to do with a phone... bear in mind I'm super busy (I do this kinda thing for a living) and the BLE range is probably pretty poor, but...
a) Finder for those absurdly cheap ($3 or so) "finder" keyfobs, just display RSSI (signal strength) and it'd be somewhat useful; at least to give you a "warmer/colder" feedback on your distance to the tag.
b) Vibrate when your friend comes into range (or any BLE device that's advertising) and let you send simple emoticon messages (again the range won't be great, but enough for when you're in a bar or whatever), kinda like a really basic emoticon walkie-talkie. This would suck down quite a lot of battery (b/c of scanning for advertising packets) but it's a thought
c) some sort of basic morse-code style tapping messager
d) unlock your front door (use any old BLE device, e.g. a $4 CC2541 BLE-to-serial dongle hooked up to a FET or a relay)
e) assuming I can sort out reading the accelerometer, you've got basically a button/slider (the touchscreen) plus a very rough motion sensor; maybe make it a GATT HCI device like a mouse or keyboard (not sure what the OS support is like for those but it's doable)
f) You could certainly interface it to a Banana Pi (with a CSR BLE dongle) or a C.H.I.P. (which has built-in BLE)...
g) then there's all the stuff you can do with modern android/iOS phones and BLE; caller ID etc etc - much of this is covered by the current IWOWN firmware... Haven't look at it a huge amount but there's sure to be some fun stuff not yet done by the stock fw...

...there's a lot of simple projects basically, it's quite a nice toy in some limited ways.... well like I say I don't have time to implement a lot of this but if I can stick some code up on Github maybe people will take the ball and run with it...

Actually i don't think that there will be anyone who doing after you so i ask you to do some of them. Another question the screen has to coler white and blue can we change it i really like white one

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30th May 2016, 12:42 PM |#7  
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Errrr.. no the OLED is whatever color it is. It's a cheap monochrome OLED. The only way you could change it is to take the device apart and there's no way you can ever put it back together properly again (it's solid molded plastic)
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30th May 2016, 09:36 PM |#9  
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thx but the Nordic publicly available stuff is fine. I pulled the firmware etc from mine and reflashed it already. There's nothing difficult or problematic, just a case of finding time to do new fw (and I'm super busy)
31st May 2016, 05:09 PM |#10  
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There was a distant feature in oldest firmware but they removed many asked to get it back can you do it in your firmware ☺

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31st May 2016, 05:18 PM |#11  
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by "distant feature" do you mean distance, i.e. it tracked how far you have walked/run? I can see how that would be unreliable, there's just an accelerometer in there and you can't really figure out distance from that. Accelerometers just tell you which way is down (i.e. they measure gravity) plus the acceleration/deceleration as you move it around. So, they're ok for detecting walking, better for running, but not good for figuring out how far you've actually travelled, the best it could really do is just guess from the number of footsteps it detected, which is going to be pretty inaccurate.

In general I'm not planning to do anything with the accelerometer (I doubt I'll have time), I'm thinking about using the I5 for other things like radio messaging and as a phone peripheral.

I don't expect to produce anything that duplicates the current firmware in terms of function, I want to do completely different things. Once I've written some code I'm happy to put it on github (which will have basic stuff like driving the OLED, reading the touch sensor, using the BLE radio etc) and maybe someone else will build some firmware that works as a fitness tracker.
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