Brass wristlet Google maps navigator watch

August 14th, 2010

This is my version of the Plus Four Wristlet Route Indicator which was a device from 1927 worn on the wrist like a watch that had a small paper scroll of printed driving directions in it.

The driver would turn the little knobs to scroll through a little list of directions to their destination. In car navigation before GPS!

It occurred to me (and others going by the comments in the link above) that you can easily make a list of directions like that using Google maps. So I gave that a try. I selected a route and plugged it into Google maps and produced a list. A little editing in something like Openoffice and you can print out a nice shopping list of directions. All I needed was something to use them in.

I went out to my shed and rummaged in my box of brass bits and pieces and threw this together.

IMG_8447_1 Google Maps Wristlet Navigator.

The body is all hand soldered from brass modeling tube. There are two cylinders, each with a slot cut along one edge. They are soldered to a flat back plate that the strap is threaded though. The ends are made from more small pieces of brass. On the front are some flat pieces and rods that the glass window press up against. The window is made from a glass microscope slide I cut down and glued in place with some windscreen sealant. The strap was just a scrap of green leather I had with a buckle attached to one end. I made the strap large so the watch can be worn over your sleeves so you can see it when driving.

The far end of the cylinders are plugged with small turned pieces I machined up on my mini lathe. The scrolls are made from long 1/8 inch brass machine screws. The ends were machined on the lathe and they are a nice, smooth fit into the cylinders. They are soldered onto the screw leaving a about 1/8 inch of thread on the far end for the knobs to be screwed onto.

The knobs on the end were made from acorn nuts and a piece from a binding post screw. Those are used to bind loose pages together into a booklet. I drilled out the centre of the binding post screw and pushed that down over the top of the acorn nut and soldered it in place. This gave me a little knurled knob with a domed end that can be screwed onto the end of the scrolls.

The directions are printed out onto a 35mm wide strip of paper and then simple taped and wound onto the scrolls. The scrolls need to be would into an ‘S’ shape. This is so that you can advance the list by turning the top knob clockwise and you reverse the list by turning the bottom knob clockwise also. This is very important! Because the knobs both use a standard thread you turn them clockwise to tighten them.  If you turn them anti-clockwise the knobs unscrew! There is enough friction in the scroll and paper that turning the knobs backwards will cause them to unscrew.

To load the device you unscrew the knobs and insert the scroll into the watch ensuring the paper slides nicely through the slot in the left hand end. The threaded ends of the scrolls will poke out the right hand side of the watch. You then screw on the knobs which then prevent the scrolls from sliding back out.

IMG_8489_1 Knobs to you!

The glass window, an improvement on the original device as far as I can tell, stops the paper getting wet in the rain when you are driving your convertible sports car with the top down.

The amazing thing is it actually bloody works! You can easily fit the length of an A4 sheet of paper into it which will provide around 25 different directions when printed at the size shown. Of course you could simply shrink the size of the text and fit many more.

Here are more pictures of it in action. Oh and the beauty of this device – it is silent!

IMG_8463_1

IMG_8484_1

IMG_8487_1

IMG_8469_1

IMG_8460_1

Update: 22 August 2010

Just a quick note for all those interested in this. It isn’t Steampunk! At least I don’t call it that. It’s just made of brass. Also the car is an MGB.

40 Responses to “Brass wristlet Google maps navigator watch”

  1. Google maps wristlet navigator - Hack a Day Says:

    […] on-wrist navigation system uses Google Maps and something called… paper. This is a throwback to scroll-based directions […]

  2. Dr. Bob Says:

    Very cool. Retro and extremly well done; the brass is perfect. I made a scroll-like navigation chart for sail racing. Worked great but that was before GPS took over everything.

    You could sell these at vintage races. What are you driving?

    Bob

  3. Google maps wristlet navigator | Geoff Hatch Technology Resource Says:

    […] on-wrist navigation system uses Google Maps and something called… paper. This is a throwback to scroll-based directions […]

  4. david Says:

    What’s the battery life like?

  5. Max Says:

    Why dear Sir, that is quite a state-of-the art navigation system you have there. Anno 2010, not 1927. Just look up “rollcharts” if doubt my truthfullness (http://www.rollcharts.org/rollchartdef.html). This one must be a newfangled miniaturized model, surely Japanese, I would say…!

    Seriously though, nice craftsmanship. Congrats! :)

  6. dsf Says:

    but whwre is arduino

  7. someone Says:

    try to read
    there is no batery exept of your notebook if you use one its just ordinary paper

  8. Google maps wristlet navigator watch | Electronic-Geek.com Says:

    […] Brass wristlet Google maps navigator watch […]

  9. Simon Says:

    Better than your average iPod!

  10. Google maps wristlet navigator watch « Artificial Intelligence Church Says:

    […] Brass wristlet Google maps navigator watch […]

  11. Ye Olde Google Maps Navigator "Wristwatch" | Gizmodo Australia Says:

    […] the directions scroll effortlessly across the glass face (fashioned from a microscope slide). [Asciimation via MAKE] Tagged:braceletsdesigngoogle […]

  12. The Daily Dose » Brass Wristlet Google Maps Navigator Watch Says:

    […] can help you read directions from Google Maps, it seems pretty cool. Created by Simon Jansen, the Brass Wristlet Google Maps Navigator Watch looks like it has the steampunk thing going for it, and can display a list of directions that are […]

  13. Brass Wristlet Google Maps Navigator Watch | Products & Tech News Says:

    […] can help you read directions from Google Maps, it seems pretty cool. Created by Simon Jansen, the Brass Wristlet Google Maps Navigator Watch looks like it has the steampunk thing going for it, and can display a list of directions that are […]

  14. Me Says:

    Great idea! I’m interested in buying one to give to a friend, any chance I could get one?

  15. Josh Geyer Says:

    I’d love to buy one. How much would you charge?

  16. Navegador personal de muñeca estilo steampunk - Gizmodo ES - The gadgets weblog Says:

    […] menos que lo vea su copiloto, es posible que se disloque el codo para verlo. — Javier G. Pereda [Asciimation] […]

  17. Navegador personal de muñeca estilo steampunk | Ultimos Avances Says:

    […] Además, tiene el papiro puesto del revés. A menos que lo vea su copiloto, es posible que se disloque el codo para verlo. — Javier G. Pereda [Asciimation] […]

  18. Tim Says:

    I love this. Leather gloves and the black sweater complete the look. How about a photo by the car? I’m curious what the car is.

  19. Google Maps goes steampunk with scrolling brass wristlet | The Auto Blog .ru Says:

    […] other, it can be challenging to follow the route and simultaneously avoid mowing down passersby. Simon Jansen’s Brass Wristlet Navigator Watch offers a potential solution and puts a little piece of steampunk on […]

  20. Google Maps goes steampunk with scrolling brass wristlet | JarCrib.Com Says:

    […] other, it can be challenging to follow the route and simultaneously avoid mowing down passersby. Simon Jansen’s Brass Wristlet Navigator Watch offers a potential solution and puts a little piece of steampunk on […]

  21. Google Maps goes steampunk with scrolling brass wristlet | AngelSaint Says:

    […] other, it can be challenging to follow the route and simultaneously avoid mowing down passersby. Simon Jansen's Brass Wristlet Navigator Watch offers a potential solution and puts a little piece of steampunk on […]

  22. Google Maps goes steampunk with scrolling brass wristlet Says:

    […] other, it can be challenging to follow the route and simultaneously avoid mowing down passersby. Simon Jansen's Brass Wristlet Navigator Watch offers a potential solution and puts a little piece of steampunk on […]

  23. tbone Says:

    Way to think outside the box, Love the ingenuity.

  24. Category Etc. | Google Maps goes steampunk with scrolling brass wristlet Says:

    […] other, it can be challenging to follow the route and simultaneously avoid mowing down passersby. Simon Jansen’s Brass Wristlet Navigator Watch offers a potential solution and puts a little piece of steampunk on […]

  25. Google Maps goes steampunk with scrolling brass wristlet Says:

    […] other, it can be challenging to follow the route and simultaneously avoid mowing down passersby. Simon Jansen’s Brass Wristlet Navigator Watch offers a potential solution and puts a little piece of steampunk on […]

  26. A Mustang » Blog Archive » Google Maps goes steampunk with scrolling brass wristlet & Shelby 1965 - 2010 2011| World’s Top Mustang Info Resource ! Says:

    […] other, it can be challenging to follow the route and simultaneously avoid mowing down passersby. Simon Jansen’s Brass Wristlet Navigator Watch offers a potential solution and puts a little piece of steampunk on […]

  27. Dr. Smart Says:

    Why would anyone ever want this? It’s 2010, who doesn’t have a GPS by now?

  28. CarLegends » Blog Archive 1900 2011 » Google Maps goes steampunk with scrolling brass wristlet | New Musclecars to Classics ! Says:

    […] other, it can be challenging to follow the route and simultaneously avoid mowing down passersby. Simon Jansen’s Brass Wristlet Navigator Watch offers a potential solution and puts a little piece of steampunk on […]

  29. freelonely » Google Maps goes steampunk with scrolling brass wristlet Says:

    […] other, it can be challenging to follow the route and simultaneously avoid mowing down passersby. Simon Jansen’s Brass Wristlet Navigator Watch offers a potential solution and puts a little piece of steampunk on […]

  30. Google Maps goes steampunk with scrolling brass wristlet | My Car Worth Says:

    […] other, it can be challenging to follow the route and simultaneously avoid mowing down passersby. Simon Jansen’s Brass Wristlet Navigator Watch offers a potential solution and puts a little piece of steampunk on […]

  31. Google Maps goes steampunk with scrolling brass wristlet | thecarhelper.com Says:

    […] other, it can be challenging to follow the route and simultaneously avoid mowing down passersby. Simon Jansen’s Brass Wristlet Navigator Watch offers a potential solution and puts a little piece of steampunk on […]

  32. Holley Linscott Says:

    This is GREAT and very cool to look at! I want one!! Let me know if you decide to make it for others!!

  33. Old School GPS | tech.nocr.at Says:

    […] Come on, we have all experience the dreaded “Satellite Lost” syndrome when using a GPS unit. A crafty hacker has created his own low-tech steampunk navigation system. […]

  34. Google Maps goes steampunk with scrolling brass wristlet | Hakkinda... Haber Islam ilahi Yaşam.. Says:

    […] other, it can be challenging to follow the route and simultaneously avoid mowing down passersby. Simon Jansen’s Brass Wristlet Navigator Watch offers a potential solution and puts a little piece of steampunk on […]

  35. Steve Says:

    It goes nicely with the black gloves and sweater – are you the real Milk Tray Man? Or maybe an evil criminal mastermind….

  36. Asciimation » Blog Archives » A steam punk record player. Says:

    […] thing. It’s not really my cup of tea and I got somewhat annoyed after I posted details of my Google Maps Brass Wristlet Navigator that people called it steampunk. That wasn’t the intention! It just happens to be made from […]

  37. Roberta X Says:

    As a former MBG daily driver, I’m pretty sure they are steampunk. The wristlet is simply clever — you’d have to solder random watch parts to it to market the idea as “Steampunk.”

  38. Google Maps with Scrolling Brass Wristlet | HACKOLOG - Amazing Hacks and Mods Says:

    […] This is a navigation system that delivers your route in the way proclamations were read back in ancient Rome or rally notes were read at the advent of the sport. The brass, leather and glass wristlet needs no batteries and couldnt be easier to use. Simply turn one of the knurled knobs to move the scroll. […]

  39. Sex Pistols auf Vinyl – und auf ‘ner Dampfmaschine… | Alles in allem Says:

    […] Retro ist fein, und derzeit springen immer mehr Leute auf diesen Zug auf. Das Schallplatten aus Vinyl wieder in sind, ist toll, aber ob die wirklich mit einem Dampf-betriebenen Plattenspieler abgenudelt werden müssen…ja, müssen die! Auf der neuseeländischen Seite Asciimation lebt ein Bastler seine Retro-Freuede aus, und der Plattenspieler ist echt super geworden. Zwar hört er das Wort Steampunk nicht so gerne, aber wer auf einer Plattenspieler-Dampfmaschine die Sex Pistols abspielt, muss damit einfach leben. Toll ist übrigens auch der analoge Google-Maps-Viewer für’s Handgelenk. […]

  40. MAKE | Google maps wristlet navigator watch Says:

    […] Brass wristlet Google maps navigator watch […]

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