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Building the OG smartwatch from Inspector Gadget

Arduino TeamOctober 20th, 2023

We recently showed you Becky Stern’s recreation of the “computer book” carried by Penny in the Inspector Gadget cartoon, but Stern didn’t stop there. She also built a replica of Penny’s most iconic gadget: her watch. Penny was a trendsetter and rocked that decades before the Apple Watch hit the market. Stern’s replica looks just like the cartoon version and even has some of the same features.

The centerpiece of this project is an Arduino Nicla Voice board. The Arduino team designed that board specifically for speech recognition on the edge, which made it perfect for recognizing Penny’s signature “come in, Brain!” voice command. Stern used Edge Impulse to train an AI to recognize that phrase as a wake word. When the Nicla Voice board hears that, it changes the image on the smartwatch screen to a new picture of Brain the dog.

The Nicla Vision board and an Adafruit 1.69″ color IPS TFT screen fit inside a 3D-printed enclosure modeled on Penny’s watch from the cartoon. That even has a clever 3D-printed watch band with links connected by lengths of fresh filament. Power comes from a small lithium battery that also fits inside the enclosure.

This watch and Stern’s computer book will both be part of an Inspector Gadget display put on by Digi-Key at Maker Faire Rome, so you can see it in person if you attend.

Categories:NiclaNicla Voice

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