The Apple Watch has been out for over two months now, and other modern smartwatches well before that. It’s no longer the stuff of sci-fi to consider using your watch to play music, control your TV, or track your fitness. But these are all things that you’ve been able to do for a surprisingly long time — well, if you maybe lived in Japan in the ‘90s and didn’t mind carrying around a bunch of Casio watches, that is.
At the former home (and, to be frank, dope mansion) of late company co-founder Toshio Kashio, Casio is showing off its rich history of unusual wristwatches, which range from the forward-thinking to the bizarre. It’s a pretty amazing collection, with features I never knew existed in digital timepieces. And while many of these can be seen in a new light given the recent rise to prominence of smartwatches, Casio isn’t trying to claim that it was there first.
Instead, a company representative tells me, the intent behind the exhibition is to lend context to Casio’s current lineup of more traditional watches. Barring a huge spike in the mid-‘90s when the G-Shock line gained popularity, Casio was never able to achieve major sales growth in the watch segment until more recently, when it started to focus on analog models — some of which have basic Bluetooth functionality, but none of which go to such design extremes.
Does that mean no one wants to do these things on their wrist at all? Even if they can be combined into a sleek, Apple Watch-shaped package? Well, probably not. And chances are the technology has much improved since these watches were on the market. But I was struck by how many smartwatch features considered groundbreaking today were around in some form years or decades ago. It was certainly intriguing not only to see an unparalleled array of gadgetry on display, but to hear the corporation responsible say it didn’t have much interest in adding to the list.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.