Flying cars, robot servants, personal jetpacks: This was the life envisioned for us by the futurists, science fiction writers and gadget makers of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s.
And one of the most memorable of those fictional inventions was the famed Dick Tracy watch.
Introduced in 1946, the two-way wrist radio was almost as iconic as the comic strip police detective who used it. By 1964 the watch, used by Tracy to keep in contact with police HQ and get out of many a jam, became a two-way wrist TV.
It was the sort of gadget — tiny, powerful, seemingly innocuous in its presentation — that fired the imagination of a generation of children, among them Apple’s Tim Cook, who recently referenced the watch when unveiling Apple’s own take on the idea.
While the Apple Watch may be one of the most advanced takes on that famous idea, it’s far from the first smartwatch to deliver on a comic book future. The history of smartwatches, computerized watches that deliver more than the time, dates back to the ’70s, and gaming on those watches has just as long a history.
Throughout that somewhat muddled five-decade period, gaming has pushed the technology forward. It was gaming that helped turn calculators into handheld toys. It was gaming that inspired Casio to try to create a new sort of technophile lifestyle. And even today, it is gaming that is empowering a new generation of developers to push the boundaries of what a smartwatch can do.
Gaming for many smartwatches isn’t just a fun aside; it is the fuel that may finally help this technology break into the mainstream.
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, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, 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.