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MoR: Wearables

MoR: Wearables

On Thursday we had another installment of our Monster on Rails user group at our office here in Münster. Our focus was set on wearables, specifically watches this time. We had two lined up covering the big two names on the market: Android Wear and Apple Watch.

Before the talks we seized the summer day and warmed up the grill for some delicious Bratwurst and a bit of socializing to get us warmed up.

Android Wear - Thomas Hollstegge

Thomas started us off with his presentation on Android Wear. He started out by explaining the big picture/idea Google had in mind when jumping into the watch market, outlining their human interface guidelines. Android wear focused a lot of attention to the design of their interfaces and geared all apps toward their material design pattern, giving all apps a common appearance. Yet, the watch still offers a range of customization by letting you choose freely from a multitude of watchfaces.

In the second half of his talk Thomas showed us the current watch project he’s building: a web-connected garage door opener. His plan is to use command a Raspberry-π to open and close the door and deliver video back to the watch when it is done. He also mentioned how he might be able to leverage geo-fencing to have his app show interactive notifications to open his garage door when he gets close to home. He already had quite a few details working and was able to show us the garage opening and closing on a video stream.


Apple Watch - Felix Seidel

We took the time between talks to have another round of Bratwurst and beers before chiming in on Felix’s talk about Apple Watch. He started out similar to Thomas by pointing out the assumptions and guidelines Apple made for watch apps and explained some of the differences that Apple made compared to Google. Felix attributed quite a few of Apple’s design decisions to conserving battery power, e.g. the dark interface combined with the watches OLED screen conserves power for every pixel that just displays black. Apple chose to restrict the watch to 7 faces, probably out of the same energy saving motivation.

We also gained insight to many inner workings of the watch’s OS, through well researched details by Felix. He showed us implementation details of messaging queues, complications, glance templates and much more.

There was also a Raspberry-π involved demo to be had here as well. Felix built a prototype app that switched radio controlled sockets on and off via a watch app. We also got a short insight to the Swift (Apple’s new language built off of Objective-c) code he wrote and how he hooked up the outlets in the interface builder.


In all, we gained a great overview of both systems and had the ability to compare the two in a short round of Q&A with Thomas and Felix and afterwards while socializing after both talks and letting the day end with another round of beers and Club Mate.


About Monster on Rails

Monster on Rails user group Münster is our monthly meetup concerning topics surrounding the Ruby on Rails ecosystem, but also encompasses technologies outside of Ruby e.g. JavaScript, Node.js, Go, Docker or NoSQL. Our usual schedule is to meet up on the last Thursday of a month. After the talks we tend to end the day with a casual round of beers and socializing. Come and join us next time, it would be great to see you and say hi.

Photography: Sam Figueroa

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