ChatGPT, OpenAI’s large language model, has seemingly been everywhere since its debut late last year. Now, the MayLabs YouTube channel has come up with a way to use it anywhere, without a phone or PC. Instead, the channel went the creator route and created a DIY smartwatch that answers spoken questions with short ChatGPT answers. Take that, Siri and the Google Assistant.
In the video, a maker with the alias “Frumtha Fewchure” builds the clock with processing from a Raspberry Pi 4B (it appears, at least from the kit MayLabs uses in their video link, that it’s an 8GB model). The Pi sits in a case that clips to a belt, along with an external battery to power it. From there, the wires run through a jacket sleeve strap to a 3D-printed gauntlet on his forearm.
The creator of the video tells us that “they think it will work with less powerful equipment [P]i”, but that a Raspberry Pi Zero might be too much, since speech recognition could crash less powerful single-board computers.
The watch part features LED lights (to let you know when the microphone is on), multiple buttons, a 0.96-inch bi-color OLED screen, and mounts for two Apple Watch bands. The buttons are 6 x 6 x 4.3 mm tactile. Frumtha Fewchure said Tom’s Hardware that a “secret” LED mentioned in the video is to be used as an IR emitter so the watch can be used as a universal remote in eventual upgrades.
Let’s not pretend that the watch looks attractive. But MayLabs claims this smartwatch is the first of its time, so perhaps there are later, less fiddly iterations in the future.
The code, which runs on the Pi, checks to see if one of the three buttons is pressed. You might get some CPU stats or a watch face, but the real magic is in the button that tells the watch to connect to the ChatGPT API to ask questions. Responses appear as text on the screen and also via audio, assuming you have headphones connected (wired or Bluetooth), as there are no speakers.
For voice recognition, Frumtha Fewchure says the watch is using an offline voice recognition kit called Vosk.
That being said, the device still requires an internet connection to send information to and from ChatGPT. You can connect to Wi-Fi on your home network, but when you test the watch in a coffee shop, MayLabs connects the device to a smartphone hotspot.
MayLabs lists many of the parts needed to build your own ChatGPT clock, including a display, microphone, Raspberry Pi, buttons, LEDs, and breadboard in their video description (and also says you can change many of them). But the channel hasn’t posted the code on GitHub or published any schematics for 3D printing the actual part of the clock, so you’re still on your own for a few important parts of the project.
My Apple Watch may look better by comparison, but I’ve learned to relegate Siri to setting timers. You wouldn’t go through airport security wearing this ChatGPT watch, but it shows what wearable devices can do with more powerful AI assistants on board.