Numerous maker startups are popping up around the world and this latest one showcases just how valuable the maker space can be for children. Especially since it was founded and is run by a young boy.
The O Watch is a programmable, 3D printed smartwatch that was designed and developed by 8-year-old Omkar Govil-Nair. Omkar likes Star Wars, James Bond and he’s about to start Grade 4. The similarities between Omar and your average 8-year-old end there though.
While attending his second Maker Faire three years ago, Omkar was inspired by CEO of Qtechknow Quin Etnyre who was 12 at the time. “Since then I wanted to make my own product,” says Omkar speaking to 3ders.org. He then went home and learned how to programme in Arduino Interactive Developer Enviroment (IDE). He soon found that there were very few Maker kits designed for kids and that’s when the idea for the O Watch was born.
Omkar’s O Watch has functionality to the hilt, as would be expected from a watch it can display the time and date. Building on that with the the full colour OLED screen , you can run apps and games. With the sensor module you can add a humidity gauge, get a temperature reading or even use the watch as a compass when you’re lost. All of these are examples of what can be done with the watch but Omkar wants his peers to create their own apps and features while learning how to programme in the Arduino IDE.
Ultimately, the aim of the O Watch is to entice children into the maker space and encourage them to begin using the tools available to them at an early age. The watch is impressive, not because it’s made by an 8 year old but because its an impressive, high quality build that will appeal to children.
At time of writing Omkar wants to launch the O Watch as a crowdfunding campaign so that children from around the world can start building their own watches and enter into the maker space. We’ll keep a close eye on this story to see how Omkar progresses through the maker world. In the meantime you can check out a video where Omkar explains his project and the reasons behind him creating it below.
Its very exciting to see children as young as Omkar entering into the maker space, and he reminds us of South Africa’s own young coding hero, Cable Maharaj. The potential they have to create something more incredible than the things they already are creating is inspiring. Us older folk need to watch our backs, I wonder if Omkar could build us an app for that.