Introduction: Uware: a DIY AR Headset

Picture of Uware: a DIY AR Headset

Whats up everyone!

Does anybody remember Google Glasses? No? It's okay, Google probably doesn't remember them either. Maybe because it was over priced or that they marketed to everyone or maybe just because you had to say, "take a picture" just to take a picture. But it still was a pretty cool idea. This instructable will guide you through the steps I used to make an AR Headset, that will display the date, time, and text messages from your phone. It will also allow you to take pictures from the headset itself all controlled with a gesture sensor (yup, its gesture controlled, no touching required).

I got the idea when I went mountain biking with my brother. On that same day, we were supposed to meet up with our dad for lunch, so I had to continually check the time. It was really annoying to have to keep stopping to check my phone (any mountain bikers out there). So, I came up with the idea to make a headset that would display the time so I wouldn't have to rely on my phone as much. Overall, this AR Headset will allow you to check your phone less and be more focused on the task at hand.

It is all controlled by an Arduino pro mini. This combined with an HC-06, a tiny OLED screen and a Gesture sensor and you get a sweet, relatively cheap AR head seat. It also has magnetic charging!! (see video above and step 7 for more details).

The four main steps are, creating an enclosure, coding some code, assembling the electronics and combining them all.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

The materials I used to create this invention are relatively cheap and easy to find online. I bought all the electronics for just under $60 dollars!


  • 1 x Arduino Pro Mini 3.3v 8mhz
  • 1 x HC-06 Blue Tooth Module
  • 1 x 0.49 Inch OLED Display Ali Express
  • 1 x 5V Mini USB 1A Lithium Battery Charger Module
  • 1 x 3.7v Lithium Battery
  • 1 x APDS-9960 Gesture Sensor
  • 1 x Mini Spy Camera (Adafruit)
  • 1 x Stationary Push Button Switch


  • 3D-Printer
  • Soldering Iron
  • Small Dremel (to creat rectangular holes)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Super Glue


  • PLA Filament
  • Thin Gauge Wire ( I used 22 but I would recommend an even thinner gauge)
  • Resistors
  • Wire Strippers
  • Solder
  • 1 x lens
  • 1 x mirror
  • 8 x rare earth magnets

After doing some research it turns out the eye can only focus on a virtual image (an image that seems to be at a further distance away than it actually is) that is 25cm away from the eye. I just kind of guessed with my lens and the distance. But to double check I used this Lens Calculator. Remember the image created must be a virtual one so make sure the Image Distance is greater than 25, virtual images have negative values (also remember some eyes may not be able to focus closer like others).

Step 2: Creating the Enclosure: Part 1

Picture of Creating the Enclosure: Part 1

The enclosure for the electronics of Uware ( yes I'm not to great at naming things, any suggestions?) was 3D-printed using an Annet A8. I wanted to give it a unique design and therefore decided to make Uware go around the back of the head and not attach to the front of glasses. It is also convenient since most people don't have access to microscopic state of the art electronics, so it allows for more space.

I printed all of the parts out of PLA filament. However, in the future I am planning on making it out of bridge nylon to allow for some flexibility and less rigidity. Also, the nylon won't break as easily as PLA. I created the enclosure using Fusion 360. Once it was done I split the design into 4 pieces and then split it again, but this time between top and bottom, so now there are eight parts in total. I like to print this way on larger projects so if the printer messes up badly, I won't have to restart the print. The design is not as thin and sleek as it could be, but then again this is a prototype so it won't be perfect (for now).

Step 3: Creating the Enclosure: Part 2

Picture of Creating the Enclosure: Part 2

In this step were just going to put the pieces of Uware together. For simplicity I just printed thin little rectangles and overlapped them between two pieces and used glue to put them together (as shown in the first few pictures). For the far right side I had to put the plastic pieces on one of the walls since there were no flat pieces on the bottom (as shown in picture 4).

Next, it's time to fill in those gaps and to do this we are going to use the Bondo. Be sure that you use a putty knife to flatten out the Bondo so its stronger and dries quicker. I applied a few coats, sanding it in between each one. While you are doing this to the bottom, start to put together the top in the same way.

Caution: When gluing the thin rectangles to the top piece use masking tape to tape the pieces of the top onto the pieces of the bottom. Be sure that everything is aligned that way it will fit nicely when put together.

Step 4: Creating the Enclosure: Part 3

Picture of Creating the Enclosure: Part 3

Now it's time to spray paint. Add the snap connectors so you can attach the top to the bottom (before 3D printing the connectors be sure to separate them in a slicer i.e. cura), and create holes in the enclosure for the components. I spray painted first, but in retrospect I should have put the clips on first.

To attach the connectors cut out rectangles (in the bottom piece) the width of the connector and the depth of half the height and then glue them on with super glue. I connected eight in all, two on the right most piece, two on the back right, two on the back left, and two on the left most piece.

Once you have all of the connectors on use some more Bondo to fill in the gaps.

Next you need to make holes for the charger, the gesture sensor, and for the camera. For the charger I drilled two holes the diameter of my magnets in the right back piece. Then you need to make the hole for the camera. I placed the camera module inside the enclosure and then kind of eye balled where to drill (Picture 3). Then place the gesture sensor inside the enclosure. Use a small Dremel to cut out a rectangle (.....ok kind of a rectangle....I know its not to great). This is for the larger component on the gesture sensor. Next place some putty on the actual gesture sensor component (picture 5). Then place the large component in its hole on the outside and press the whole module against the enclosure. This is so you can get a perfect distance from the large component to the small component. Finally, make a hole where the putty is and drill out a rectangle the size of the gesture sensor module.

Now lets move on to some software.

Step 5: Coding Some Code and Making an App

As a novice at coding it took me quite a while to create a working program, but after many long hours of research, trying, and retrying I was able to complete my task.

The Low Down: Alright, here's how it works. I made a simple app ( which I will get to later) that sends strings of characters via blue tooth to the Arduino Pro Mini. If the string doesn't start with anything it will read it as time and go to the time function. If the string starts with a quotation mark the Arduino will read it as a Text message and run the text function. The code automatically runs the Time so it's kind of like a home screen. If you swipe right on the gesture sensor it will go into camera mode. From there you can take pictures (and eventually videos) and it will stay in this mode until you swipe back. Once I l do more research I plan it give it the full capabilities of a smart watch.

The App: If you thought my Arduino code was rough wait until I tell you I don't know java script,

(Me): " I don't know Java Script"

(You): *gasp* "What?!"

So how did I create a fully functional smart glasses app? I finally did what my teachers told me and used my resources. I found an App creator called "MIT App Inventor 2". It uses block coding (yes, blocks:|) to make an app. It's actually pretty cool and has a lot of useful functions. Like clocks and blue tooth, gyros sensors, texting, GPS...... very resourceful. In all seriousness I do plan to learn how to make apps to make Uware a lot more functional (plus it seems like that's where the money's at.;)

Step 6: Electronics Assembly

Now for my favorite part, (but also the most frustrating) putting the electronics together.

The whole thing is pretty straight forward after looking at the schematic (Screen shot above). Some warnings: make sure you put the Tx and Rx pins of the HC-06 to the correct pins on the Arduino, also make sure that you connect the right pins on the gesture sensor to A4 and A5.

I cut out a piece of perf board to make it easy for things like the power, ground, SDA, and SCL pins.

Above is a video of showing the prototype of the code using a larger OLED.

Step 7: Charger

Picture of Charger

Now its time for some sweet magnetic charging. To do this, solder wires from the Power In and Power Out holes in the charger module. Make sure that they are long enough to reach the two holes that were drilled earlier. Next get two magnets and sandwich the wire between the two (picture 3). Be sure that the wire is frayed a little to allow for more surface area. Once you are done, place the magnets inside the hole and use hot glue to hold it in place. Do the same for the other and make sure that it's flush on the bottom (picture 6).



Put the wires under the plastic piece then into to the large wholes for the magnets.

Step 8: Adding Electronics and Finishing Up

Picture of Adding Electronics and Finishing Up

Now it's time to stuff that enclosure like a Thanksgiving Turkey!

First thing to do is to make a hole somewhere in the back of the enclosure so that your switch will fit snugly. I would recommend putting in the switch first before any other electronics. Then place the gesture sensor into its place. Once all of its components are in use glue to keep it in place (Picture 2). Caution: Before gluing make sure that the gesture sensor will work where it is (sometimes the hole isn't big enough). Now for the Camera. Place the actual lens in the hole we made earlier apply then apply some glue. Use the small Dremel to make a long rectangle in the bottom of the enclosure for the SD Card to go into. Finally Glue the screen into the proper place. The rest of the electronics won't need glue so I just put them in.

Almost done! All that's left is to glue the mirror, the lens, and the prism holder in place. As for the prism you can cut out a piece of plastic from a CD case but I used glass since it is more reflective. In the pictures at the beginning of the instructable you can see that there is a blue cap over the glass. I glued in a piece of static protection bag (what electronic components usually come in) so that I can just slide it on to give it more tint making it easier to see.

Once you have done this put the top on and make sure every thing fits nicely.

Step 9: Conclusion

Picture of Conclusion


(some pictures with the camera above)

Even though there are plenty of things that I could improve on I am pretty content with Uware. Now I have a clock and a camera in my field of view when doing a task (I've yet to take it mountain biking, don't worry I will take safety glasses). In the near future I plan to trick it out with full capabilities of a smart watch. Here is a list of things I would like to add:

  • Input micro phone for texting
  • Output speaker for listening
  • OLED with higher resolution
  • Stop watch app
  • Alarm app
  • Voice control
  • GPS Navigation
  • Games
  • Pedometer
  • Weather Widget
  • AI Voice
  • Take calls
  • Emails
  • Make the image brighter for daylight use
  • Connection to Smart Board
  • Own custom App (sorry MIT APP Inventor)

I've got a long list of things to improve on but I guess that's the process of making an Invention. With a lot of work ahead of me I would like to hear what the community thinks. Comments, questions, suggestions and critics.... all the things are welcome. I'd love to hear what everyone thinks.

If you liked this Instructable of creating Uware consider giving it a like and a vote for the Instructables Invention Challenge.

Thanks for all who view, see you later!


신승필 (author)2017-12-10

I want to get a PDF file and code !
It's for my winter vacation project!
Please send them to one of these adress⬇️⬇️

sjrocky (author)2017-10-02

Hey, I would love to be able to get the code for this!

Daniel Quintana (author)sjrocky2017-10-03

Sure thing sjrocky, can you provide me with an email please? I don't think it is a good idea of putting code that is a little bugy on the internet so people don't get confused:) Thanks!!

sjrocky (author)Daniel Quintana2017-10-08

Check your messages!

CatsinHeat (author)2017-09-22

I'm uns=curtain, but your .3mf file is corrupted. It should be XML! I can't find anything to read it.

Hello CatsinHeat,

Sorry I had no Idea, I will try to figure it out but i've been rather busy (It took me a while to reply to all these new comments). I will do some research and see if I can fix it soon.

윤성김 (author)2017-09-19

Hello~ Daniel~^^

I would like to make DIY.

l want to Know Source and APP.

Could you like to Receive my E-Mail

I have yet to find a good way to send the app but I sent you a copy of the arduino Code. I'll do my best to figure it out.

Mechanical Pencil (author)2017-09-17

Hello! ive recently gatherd my own parts for a similar build like this (intead of making it bluetooth and make an app for displaying time, im using a RTC). Ive noticed that you did not share the code in this article...may i get a copy?

Mechanical Pencil


Great Idea!!

I sent the code:)

Lim Jong Hyun (author)2017-09-05

Hello. Daniel~^^;

I read Your Creative IoT Toy!!

I would like to make DIY .

I want to Know Source and App.

Could you like to Receive my E-mail. ~^^;;

Thank you! I sent the code!

meemarks (author)2017-08-16

Hi Daniel,

really great DIY step-forward project, it is awesome. I remember to see Alan's (awall99) project last year and I found it one of the most interesting DIY projects on the subject at that time (and of course he should be a reference for all of us who are interested on this "things"). But, as I said, I find yours a fantastic step-forward on this kind of devices, because, besides being a cool and very useful DIY, it even is an example to be compared with industry giants! Very Good work. One question: can you please share the MIT App Inventor / Arduino codes of the project?

Thank you very much and keep doing.

António Marques

Daniel Quintana (author)meemarks2017-08-21

Hey meemarks,

Thanks for your reply and thank you for taking your time to write such a comment. I can send you the arduino code but I have yet to find a way to send anyone the app. Once I do though I'll let you know! (love to hear from people around the world btw)

Daniel Quintana

Also, sorry for the late reply I was at a music festival about ten days ago and just barely got back from hunting.

meemarks (author)Daniel Quintana2017-08-23

Hi Daniel!

Please don't worry! Thanks again and keep inventing and doing!

Kind regards,

António Marques

Daniel Quintana (author)meemarks2017-08-23

Sure thing!!

Good Day,

Daniel Quintana

재현이3 (author)2017-08-15

Hi. I saw a great build and I wanted to make it.
But there is no information about coding.
I want to receive it by mail.
My email is

Thanks, I'll send the code.

Sorry for the late reply I was at a music festival about ten days ago and just barely got back from hunting.

우진신 (author)2017-08-16

I am working on digital printing in Korea.

Because digital printing is not a mass printing process,

Classification work is needed.

So I found various solutions. Becon, Rfid ..

However, it was difficult to find a way to classify things in a simpler way.

Your UWare will be a solution to solve our complex logistics.

As I said in the morning, it's easier to have your own source and MIT App Inventor

I think I can approach it.

If it is not annoying, I would like to send it by mail. My e-mail address is

We also make products that can help someone like UWare you created

I want to share.

Thanks again for the wonderful project and deep inspiration.

Hey, sorry for the late reply I was at a music festival about ten days ago and just barely got back from hunting. I don't quite understand what you mean when you say," I would like to send it by mail". If you want my email adress I could give it to you over a private message. Could you please clarify? Thank you anyways though, your comment means a lot!

강용이 (author)2017-08-15

l read well !!

If you do not mind, can U send me the coding and app program?

Just l want to know what principle

Thank U


Alright, I sent the code to your gmail!

AshleyT82 (author)2017-08-13

Are the dimensions for the 3d model in inches
When I try to print in cm using pla IIT says that walls may be too thin

Yes they are in inches, if your scale the models up by 2540% they will be the correct size.

Could you pls hurry on the new 3d model i needed im kind of on a deadline. Thank u in advance

That is if your slicer is showing the models in cm (1 cm = 2.54 Inches).

SilvianE (author)2017-08-14

This is so cool ! I am looking forward to see any updates regarding this project :) have you found a higher resolution display?

Daniel Quintana (author)SilvianE2017-08-14

Hi SilvianE, thank you so much for your compliment. I have yet to find a small display with better resolution ( besides a 72*32 0.5" oled display). I will keep looking however. Let me know if you find anything:{)!!

CreeperKiller270 (author)2017-08-13

Can other people looking at you see what is being displayed on the glass/plastic viewing prism when you are wearing the headset?

Hey CreeperKiller270, No one else can see what is being displayed except for the person wearing the head set. In a dark room a person may be able to see a blob of light coming from the opening by the lens (if they are standing on the left side of you) but because of their distance from the lens and the glass/prism distorting the image further you wouldn't be able to view what the person wearing Uware is seeing. Thanks for the question!!

AshleyT82 (author)2017-08-14

Pls create the 3d model for the 0.96" display. Also add a little more width for an rtc module.

AshleyT82 (author)2017-08-13

In you pics I don't see a lens placed to focus screen at infinity can u pls explain
Have trouble understanding

Hello AshleyT82, If you look in step 8 the second picture shows a thin piece of plastic in front of the mirror. This is where I placed the lens. If you need more clarification or even another picture just let me know!!

Could u pls show me a picture with the lens installed and an individual picture of the lens

I'll try to post a picture ASAP. I haven't been at home lately so I don't have access to my materials. In the meantime here is the link to the lenses

AshleyT82 (author)2017-08-13

Also I have trouble making 3d models. Could you pls create or modify your design to accommodate a 0.96" display. Please

Sure thing! Once I have it made I'll put an update on the 2nd step. However I would like to say that a .96" display is rather large and the design would hang off your head more. I know that they are cheap but a .49" is only $8 ( though resolution is poor). Anyways I will try to get the .96" design made. Thanks for the reply.

In my country a 0.96" display only costs 6$ . Besides I couldn't​ find the smaller one.

Here's the link to the .49" screen. It costs 5.60 originally but more with shipping.

brennus.fogarty-pryor (author)2017-08-08

This simply is phenomenal! I don't know how I can say this enough(although I do not want to drag this out for very long) but this is just amazing. One day I would love to make this(maybe in collaboration with a laser tag system to give an awesome video game-like game) but I couldn't help but wonder if you could make this smaller(the smaller the better) as well as a single device. I wonder would it be worth getting a custom chip made so that it only uses the parts of the arduino that are necessary(therefore cutting back in size as well as focusing on specialty areas). I think that one day I would love making this as well as showing it's capabilities to my friends and families. I wish you the best. Keep making and keep it simple!

Thank you brennus.fogarty-pryor!! A gaming system with this would be cool! The design could be made smaller right now but only by a little bit (mainly in the places where there are no components. The custom chip sounds like a good idea ( I haven't really looked into it yet, but it makes sense). It is fairly difficult since the design is curved but the components are strait. Eventually I would love to make a version that is as thin as can be. Thank you again for the reply!! Sorry I'm late I've been at a music festival the past five days!

PaulA23 (author)2017-08-07

You keep mentioning your future plans as if you're afraid people will think this is "too simple". This is GROUNDBREAKING. You've managed to create something that a giant corporation failed to perfect. EVERY project begins humbly - even for the hundreds of engineers at google. Uware requires at least an intermediate to advanced level of skill in several major skillsets, including 3D design (of a pseudo-bionic device), software programming, & electronics engineering. Many do not posess the aptitude to tackle something like this; I HIGHLY applaud you, and I would definitely buy something like this - even as-is.
I'm fairly good with electronics & programming myself (though i hate java), so let me know if there's any way I can help.
Excellent job!!

Daniel Quintana (author)PaulA232017-08-07

Hello PaulA23,

Wow..... this comment means a lot to me as a maker. Thank you so much for taking your time, to inspire a strangers spirit to become the best he can be. I cannot tell you how many people would really take a step back and look at this project. A lot of work did go into in to it and is definitely my most challenging make yet. The fact the you were one of the only people to really think of what was made is crazy. In fact, you read my mind. I did think a lot of people wouldn't appreciate its simplicity and the reason for all the improvements was because of that. Thank you again for giving ME a moment to step back and to see what I actually created. I hope nothing but good comes your way. Again, thank you so much!!

Inspiring day,

Daniel Quintana

PaulA23 (author)Daniel Quintana2017-08-07

Daniel, you are most welcome! I was actually just recently thinking of attempting to make something very similar to use in my work... The basic gist would be something similar to the employee's order screen at a fast food restaurant, where you'd see a simple list of items to retrieve, & a gesture would remove a line item. I work in a manufacturing plant where we build floor & roof trusses, and I am a "picker." Using a forklift (and my hands), my job is to select the correct size & grade of wood from a "pick list." Instead of constantly referring to the paper, I'd LOVE to digitize the list (possibly OCR or direct download, if I could talk them into it), then present said list in the AR headset, with the ability to remove completed items... :-)
Anyway, sorry to hijack your comments; you have a great start to something awesome! :-)

Daniel Quintana (author)PaulA232017-08-13

Thanks again PaulA23, your idea sounds great and very helpful to those in your field of work (and of course to other jobs similair). No problem about hijacking, I love to hear comments!!

PaulA23 (author)Daniel Quintana2017-08-07

Btw, I'm able to take that step back & see because I was an aviation electronics tech in the Navy, and I've done a LOT of programming for big companies... :-)

MatiasM53 (author)2017-08-07

A little hint that G don't want listen... add a red led beside the camera and turn on it when you take a photo or when you are record a video thus others people are able to know when you are film them.

Excelent initiative!

Regards from Corrientes, Argentina.

isdubkov (author)2017-08-04

Hi! Fantastic build! Thank you!

I'm sorry I can not find any image showing how this thing overlays text on your field of view.

Daniel Quintana (author)isdubkov2017-08-05

Hey isdubkov,
Thanks for your reply. As for the picture I have few but they are fairly blurry and do not do Uware justice. My camera uses auto focusing which makes it hard. Even awall99 said it was impossible and he had to use a video trick (Photoshop maybe, idk?) to show what it would look like. I do not think it is impossible, just extremely difficult. Once I do get a good picture I will let you know (and I promise it won't be Photoshop). Thanks again for your comment, it means a lot.

G00d day,
Daniel Quintana

About This Instructable




Bio: Just a 15 year old boy living in suburban Utah trying to find his way through life.....and hobby engineering. I enjoy mountain biking and ... More »
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