Hexiwear – a wearable development kit for the IoT era


Create your own smartwatch, remote sensor tag, or sophisticated home controller with this small, sleek, BLE-enabled, low power dev kit.

Hexiwear is a wearable development kit for the Internet of Things era. A small and sleek, low-power device packed with sensors to quantify yourself and the world around you. Wirelessly enabled, it can connect both to devices nearby – or to cloud servers far away. Its greatest feature? The new and original firmware you will develop.

Above all, Hexiwear is a foundation for your own inventions. It comes with several preloaded apps to give you a flying start. From there, you can use it to build a smartwatch, a remote sensor tag, or expand it into a sophisticated smarthome controller.

The six sides represent the six reasons why Hexiwear is so great:

  • Compact wearable form factor
  • Low power
  • Expandability
  • Connectivity
  • Availability (open source)
  • Community

In order to build this kit with the best technology available, we partnered with NXP Semiconductors. We designed and produced the first batch. Now, we are asking for your support. Makers, start-ups, students, and R&D engineers will all benefit from this IoT development platform. You will benefit from the “coolness” of using this device as an end product.

Our chief designer for this project has a background in designing jewelry and Las Vegas gaming machines. Here’s the story.

When we first set out to build a wearable development kit, we figured we’ll design a reasonably small PCB and encase it – we approached the problem from an engineer’s point of view. But then we realized that “wearable” can mean two things:

Capable of being worn; suitable to be worn.

A barebones PCB board is capable of being worn. But we wanted to raise the bar on what can qualify as a wearable development kit and make something that both engineers and non-engineers alike want to wear and show-off to their friends. After all, the modern consumer has high expectations of product design. A device’s “smartness” is conveyed by its look and feel as much as by the hardware inside.

Hexiwear as a wall-mounted sensor
Hexiwear as a wall-mounted sensor

It was a challenge for our hardware engineers to fit in all the required electronics. The small footprint of NXP parts helped. Inside the casing is a mainboard made of 6-layer PCB, and another board on top to host the capacitive buttons.

The end result is a development kit your non-developer friends will want to wear.

Think how important that is. Wearable devices require extensive field testing. You’ll be able to get your prototypes worn by many people. The feedback gained will then enable you to go through cycles of improvement much faster.

Hexiwear's Hardware
Hexiwear’s Hardware

Electronic products have to be responsive and autonomous. Otherwise, even the most futuristic device can trigger people’s stone-age instincts. Slow, unresponsive menus and short-lasting batteries cause frustration, anger, even rage.

Working together with NXP, a market leader in microcontrollers, we put much thought in choosing hardware components for Hexiwear. After numerous iterations, the final design achieves that perfect balance of computing power and low power consumption for accessing sensor readings, transmitting data through Bluetooth, and interacting with the device through its inputs and the built-in OLED display. Here’s what’s inside:


  • MCU: NXP Kinetis K64 MCU (ARM® Cortex®-M4, 120 MHz, 1M Flash, 256K SRAM)
  • BLE: NXP Kinetis KW4x (ARM® Cortex®-M0+, Bluetooth Low Energy & 802.15.4 Wireless MCU)
  • 3D Accelerometer and 3D Magnetometer: NXP FXOS8700CQ
  • 3-Axis Digital Gyroscope: NXP FXAS21002
  • Absolute Digital Pressure sensor: NXP MPL3115A2R1
  • 600 mA Single-cell Li-Ion/Li-Polymer Battery Charger: NXP MC34671
  • Light-to-digital converter: TAOS TSL2561
  • Digital humidity and temperature sensor: MEAS HTU21D
  • Heart-rate sensor: Maxim’s MAX30101
  • 1.1” full color OLED display
  • Haptic feedback engine
  • 190 mAh 2C Li-Po battery
  • Capacitive touch interface
  • 8 MB of additional Flash memory

Although it appears to be a very well designed end product, Hexiwear is a development platform. A do-anything device.

It can be outfitted for many purposes with different accessories. Use it as a wristwatch with a sporty bracelet. Orchoose from a selection of multicolored soft covers that can be tied to a key-chain, hung from a necklace, or thumb-tacked to a wall.

But that’s not all.

The whole Internet of Things thing is an unexplored universe. The future tends to end up crazier than imagined. Biggest consequences come from inventions we never predicted. So instead of predicting, our idea is to equip developers with versatile, adaptable and expandable tools. Then, stand back and see what happens.

Hexiwear’s core functionality can be enhanced with hundreds of additional sensors, actuators and transceivers of all kinds. All you need to do is park it on the Hexiwear Docking Station.

Hexiwear Docking Station with onboard programmer
Hexiwear Docking Station with onboard programmer
Docking station connector on the back of the Hexiwear device
Docking station connector on the back of the Hexiwear device
Hexiwear Docking Station with click boards mounted
Hexiwear Docking Station with click boards mounted
Hundreds of click boards available, click on the image to browse the entire selection
Hundreds of click boards available, click on the image to browse the entire selection


With three mikroBUS™ sockets for click boards™, adding a new functionality is plug and play. Add more wireless connectivity options, different interfaces, motor controllers, input devices, displays – the options are too many to number – all without worrying about resistance, capacitance and suchlike.

Hexiwear is by itself just a single piece of the IoT equation.

The integrated Bluetooth Low Energy module makes it compatible with countless devices – not just earpieces, keyboards, tablets, laptops or phones – nowadays you have BLE-enabled socks, shoes, water bottles. Find new ways to incorporate them into your own IoT eco-system.


Android and iOS apps for the Hexiwear are already available from Google Play the App Store.

Android and iOS apps for Hexiwear
Android and iOS apps for Hexiwear

Once you pair a phone with a Hexiwear you can access the readings from all the sensors, or turn individual sensors on and off (using Hexiwear as a remote sensor tag).

Both apps also support Over The Air Programming (OTAP). So you can completely reimagine the behavior on the fly.

Hexiwear in OTAP mode (Over the Air Programming via BLE)
Hexiwear in OTAP mode (Over the Air Programming via BLE)


Each Hexiwear user gets access to a private cloud where all the sensor readings can be sent and stored. Analyze the data to find patterns and trends; turn seemingly random numbers into knowledge. The ultimate goal is to optimize some aspect of your daily reality.

I want this challenging gadget