Maker Faire Bay Area 2016, best one yet!

Every kid should make something and exhibit at Maker Faire!

Maker Faire Bay Area is one of the few events where kids of all ages get to show off their creations to a large audience and get a chance to meet makers, inventors and leaders from all over the globe. And this year it was bigger and better!

For Omkar (a huge fan of Mythbusters), the absolute highlight of the event was meeting Adam Savage!

The biggest shout out for Omkar’s project came from none other than Massimo Banzi, the co-founder of Arduino, who talked about Omkar and O Watch in his annual State of Arduino address (at 15:30 in this video)!


The best part of Maker Faire is meeting old maker friends and making new ones, not to mention experiencing all the cool exhibits and activities.


Some of the kid makers we came across (there were many others):

Mark you calendars for the next Maker Faire or similar event near you and encourage+help your child make and exhibit something. It’s just an awesome experience for kids! Nothing quite like Maker Faire Bay Area.

And one more thing…. Omkar got featured in the local newspaper! 🙂 🙂

Kid maker to entrepreneur, celebrating the spirit of Maker Faire

It was back in 2013 Omkar made his very first Arduino project at the age of 6 having attended couple of Maker Faires by then. At the 2014 Maker Faire, he got to meet Quin and several other kid makers inspiring him to dream of starting a business. But he had to come up with a product idea first. 🙂 After toying with several ideas, he decided on making a kid’s smartwatch. His first effort was received with much encouragement from the maker community including Atmel and Adafruit.

Omkar exhibited a prototype at MFBA 2015 and got validation from other kids and parents who showed keen interest. All the words of encouragement from makers and well wishers including the folks from Particle, Pebble and Atmel motivated him to go ahead with the project. This really speaks to the spirit of the Maker Faire community that is super supportive of all makers, especially kids.

MFBA15 2

There Omkar also met the CEO of TinyCircuits who kindly accepted our request to partner and supply the required electronics. Further, Kickstarter made it possible for him to bring O Watch to market with the kind support of awesome backers from across the globe.

Omkar’s vision for O Watch is to inspire kids to get started with design, 3D printing, crafting and coding while making a fully functional product they can use daily. And he wishes to meet more makers and partners at MFBA16 to make O Watch even better and accessible for kids.

If you are in Bay Area, don’t miss Maker Faire! It is the event where kids will get exposure to all types of making and meet budding entrepreneurs to experience first hand the basics of kickstarting a business.

Please stop by the O Watch exhibit in Zone 2 for a chance to win an O Watch! For those who are unable to make it to MF, we’ve a 10% discount to celebrate Maker Week using the promo code 10OFFMF16 via the O Watch store.

O Watch successfully funded on Kickstarter!

KS Funded

O Watch Kickstarter successfully funded! 

O Watch is an Arduino based smartwatch kit for kids to get started with hands-on programming and 3D design. It comes with a complete set of components and easy-to-use instructions to create your own smartwatch. You can customize it by creating 3D printed watch cases and colorful straps using various band making techniques like paracording.

The O Watch kit comes in two variants:

Base watch kit: Arduino Zero based programmer board with integrated color OLED screen, LiPo battery, 3D printed watch-case and para-cord kit.

Smartwatch kit: Base watch kit plus sensor board with integrated 3 axis compass, temp, barometric pressure and humidity sensors.

O Watch Cases 3D Printing: O Watch cases can be 3D printed at home or via one of the several 3D printing services or maker-spaces convenient to your location. We are actively working on creating a 3D printing partner ecosystem for kids to easily customize and 3D print O Watch cases in a variety of colors and materials.

O Watch Kickstarter is successfully funded! Thank you to all the backers and supporters!

O Watch Interest List: If you missed the Kickstarter and would like an O Watch, please visit to order one for yourself.

Simple way to integrate Twitter to your projects using Photon and IFTTT

The folks at Particle (erstwhile Spark) are awesome – they make great IoT products and are really super nice people. They gifted Omkar a Photon at the MakerFaire. His summer break just started and this was his priority #1.

Omkar wanted a way to know when someone mentions or follows @IoT4Kids. Particle makes this incredibly easy to do with just a few lines of code. You essentially can make any action happen (light up or move something and/or make some noise) based on Twitter activity using their Arduino compatible WiFi integrated micro-controller and their integration with IFTTT.

This simple example lights up an LED.

BTW, the display box is 3D printed using Printrbot Simple which is another awesome product for kids to get started with 3D printing.

This is all made so easy with the Particle Spark.Function() that is triggered ‘automagically’ 🙂 from IFTTT. All you need is the code below and create a recipe with Twitter trigger and Particle action.

int ledpin = D7;
void setup()
// register the cloud function
Spark.function("tweet", twittermessage);
pinMode(ledpin, OUTPUT);


void loop()
digitalWrite(ledpin, LOW);

// this function automagically gets called upon a tweet mention
int twittermessage(String ignore)
digitalWrite(ledpin, HIGH);

Here is a more fun example of this by Brian Sherwin. He also has an example of making this with your own node.js application to make the action trigger immediately instead of the 15 min cycle on IFTTT.

So folks, if you liked this please follow or mention @IoT4Kids and light up Omkar’s day. :).

Truly the greatest show on earth!

MFBA15 2

That’s Omkar’s statement after exhibiting his O Watch as a maker for the first time at Maker Faire 2015 Bay Area. Thanks to the organizers, volunteers and all the amazing makers, attendees and exhibitors for the encouragement and support.

O Watch at Maker Faire!

O Watch Preview

  • What is O Watch?
    • A Kids Arduino Programmable Watch to encourage young kids get started with programming and 3d design.
    • This current prototype is made using the TinyScreen kit with associated sensors and 3d printed cases using SketchUp and Printrbot.
  • Why O Watch?
    • Omkar’s vision is to make kids design their own watches and personalize it.
    • His goal is to make it kid friendly by creating some libraries with help from the community, friends and family.
    • This is a good way to get kids interested in designing their own 3d printed custom cases and straps.
  • What next?
    • Omkar is seeking partners to bring this idea to market.
    • Plan is to launch on Kickstarter later this year.
    • Please sign up below for early Kickstarter notification.

Sign up to be notified: 

Happy Pi Day! An Arduino Pi Program on TinyScreen

Archimedes of Syracuse (287 BC – 212 BC)) was one of the first to device an algorithm to calculate the value of Pi.

On Pi day we decided to make a simple program to calculate Pi on an Arduino compatible TinyScreen using the Leibnitz formula for Pi.

The Leibniz formula for Pi is: Leibniz Pi

Here is the video of the program:

Here is program code:

//Add TinyScreen Libraries
#include <TinyScreen.h>;
#include <SPI.h>;
#include <Wire.h>;

TinyScreen display = TinyScreen(0); //Initialize TinyScreen

// Initialize the variables
float Pi=0;
float  n=1.0;
unsigned long i=0L;

void setup(void)

void loop()
 // the recurring calculations of formula
 n=n+2.0; // Increment the denominator by 2

 // Print the values
 display.setCursor(12, 14);
 display.print("Happy Pi Day");

 i=i+1; // Increment the counter


Introducing the “O Watch” – A kids programmable Arduino smartwatch

The O Watch!

The O Watch is a ‘Precise Time Keeper’ :). Using a DS3231 Real-time-clock (RTC) module with a backup battery, it is able to keep time for years with high precision. This is made using Sparkfun Microview, RTC module and a LiPo battery and charger from Adafruit.

The Design Vision:


The first prototype:


The Smartstrap!



Neopixel Christmas Lights dancing to music with MSGEQ7 Spectrum Shield

Make your holiday lights dance to music!

NeopixelChristmasLightsThis uses a 300 LED Adafruit Neopixel strip driven by Sparkfun Spectrum Shield (make sure you buy the stackable headers with this) and Arduino Uno. The connections are fairly simple as shown in this pic. Apart from the ground and 5v you just need to connect one data pin to the Neopixel strip to control it (refer to Adafruit Neopixel Guide). There are two standard 1/8″ audio jacks on the Shield that you can connect input audio and pass through the other to your speaker.

The code was adapted from (Thanks Michael!).

#include <Adafruit_NeoPixel.h> // include the Adfruit Neopixel library
#define PIN_NEOPIXELS 8 // connect Neopixel strip to this pin
#define PIN_STROBE 4 // spectrum shield strobe pin
#define PIN_RESET 5 // spectrum shield reset pin
#define PIN_SOUND 1 //analog input pin spectrum shield - using only one/right channel
#define NUMLEDS 300 // LEDs in Neopixel strip
#define MINPOWER 128 // minimum amplitude value to be considered
#define MAXPOWER 1023 // max amplitude value
Adafruit_NeoPixel strip = Adafruit_NeoPixel(NUMLEDS, PIN_NEOPIXELS, NEO_GRB + NEO_KHZ800);
int soundvalue[7]; //band array to store amplitutde value for each band
void setup() 
 strip.begin(); //initialize neopixels
 //initialize spectrum shield graphic equalizer
 pinMode(PIN_RESET, OUTPUT); // reset
 pinMode(PIN_STROBE, OUTPUT); // strobe
 digitalWrite(PIN_RESET,LOW); // reset low
 digitalWrite(PIN_STROBE,HIGH); //pin 5 is RESET on the shield
void loop() {

 int bColor = colorValue((soundvalue[0]+soundvalue[1])/2);
 int gColor = colorValue((soundvalue[2]+soundvalue[3]+soundvalue[4])/3);
 int rColor = colorValue((soundvalue[5]+soundvalue[6])/2);
 byte red = rColor; //convert to 0-255 byte value for Neopixel
 byte blue = bColor;
 byte green = gColor;
 for (int i = 0; i < NUMLEDS; i=i++) //show strip
 if(i<=240) {strip.setPixelColor(i, (i<=rColor) ? red : 0,(i<=gColor) ? green : 0,(i<=bColor) ? blue : 0);}
 else {strip.setPixelColor(i, (i<=rColor) ? 255 : 0,(i<=gColor) ? 255 : 0,(i<=bColor) ? 255 : 0);} 
 } //you might have to play with this based on your setup. The if statement is to make the top LEDs show brighter;
int colorValue(int powerValue) // calculate a a RGB color value from the sound bands
 return map(powerValue, MINPOWER, MAXPOWER, 0, NUMLEDS);
// Read the Analog sound data from 7 bands
void readMSGEQ7()
 digitalWrite(PIN_RESET, HIGH); //reset the data
 digitalWrite(PIN_RESET, LOW);
 for(int band=0; band < 7; band++) { //loop thru all 7 bands
 digitalWrite(PIN_STROBE,LOW); // go to the next band 
 delayMicroseconds(10); //gather some data
 soundvalue[band] = analogRead(PIN_SOUND); // store left band reading
 digitalWrite(PIN_STROBE,HIGH); // reset the strobe pin