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Data Runner Watch Prototype – Modded Casio F91W (n-o-d-e.net)
199 points by pabloem 17 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 50 comments

Wow, apart from obviously cool project I'm super impressed with the minimalist website design, aesthetics, effort put in the video to match the aesthetics and all without any JS.

Either this is the first time I'm visiting this site or I don't remember; But I wonder how they are managing to compete with Node.JS in the search engines with that name. Google doesn't respect even N-O-D-E, where as DDG brings up the site as first result for N-O-D-E. Not to mention there's another famous Youtube channel by the name Node by Corridor Crew.

They seem to sell some items based on their design along with the stuff they make at their store of the same name, I would like to know how they reach out to their audience from any regular subscriber of their work.

I also liked the transcript below the video so you can read along. I wish more sites would do that. I'm not hearing impaired (though it's definitely a boon if you are), but it's a lot more convenient to just see the words sometimes.

I agree. I think transcripts beside graphical formats are absolutely necessary or at least it's empathetic.

Self plug: I have a startup related site which is text only and occasionally I draw some comics which always consists of transcription.


I found N-O-D-E a few years ago when I was just starting to get into programming. Their early raspberry pi gadgets were so cool and encouraged me to go out and try to make my own stuff. On top of that their channel used to do semi regular tech news updates, and after a bit of a hiatus it appears as though they're posting again which is exciting.

I assume their videos got buried by the YouTube algorithms now as it doesn't conform to typical tech (read marketing) videos shot with RED cameras and Robots rigs.

I got that datarunner F91W video recommended by the Youtube algorithm. So they are not completely buried.

Found this gem a few weeks ago and was also completely blown away. Especially the YouTube videos.

What i'm thinking is that popularity and SEO issues are not really a concern since it looks like a very closed community type of thing.

>Especially the YouTube videos.

Couldn't find the channel, what's the name?


These are all from the articles on the homepage, https://n-o-d-e.net/index.html, many of them contain videos but also with mirrors on YT/archive.org/etc. I would be really interested to know what software he uses to make the videos.

The Zine also seems pretty great.

Thank you, Now I feel dumb. I was so preoccupied in digging inside the source to see if it was plain html video tag or are they using custom player that I didn't see Youtube mirror beneath each video and more over my google whacking skills failed me.

>I would be really interested to know what software he uses to make the videos

I would like to know the encoding parameters he uses to convert the video to .mp4, because when ever I convert my video to .mp4 with handbrake or ffmpeg it fails to play properly in <video></video> in one or more browsers resulting in me putting 3 different sources in my blog (Twitter, direct .mp4/.webm links)[1].


Looks like the whole website is the same aesthetic, and I just spent over an hour going down the list of this guy's projects. Pretty fun.

A highlight: https://n-o-d-e.net/nano_server2.html

Could do with a little css to make it more readable on mobile though. Wouldn't take much, one or two lines.

Anything specific, I feel that line-space could be increased on my mobile.

I used to buy F91W watches all the time. they were fun and practical, but wasteful.

the most shameful fact about the F91W isnt its spartan design or its affordable price, but the fact that the timepiece with its ten year battery will easily outlast its resin strap, and its springbars are nothing more than pot steel held into the soft plastic lugs by friction alone. Chances are, when you replace the band after a few years youll pay just as much as the watch to do so, and run a pretty good risk of damaging the springbars to the point of rendering them warped or broken. the simple act of removing the springbars themselves is enough to strip out the lugs sometimes.

the clearances between the lugs and springbars are also very tight, so it discourages aftermarket additions like NATO bands or third party straps.

the B650WB is somewhat more durable.

> they were fun and practical, but wasteful

I imagine the average person generate more daily plastic waste before lunch time than goes in to an average F91W.

This is hilarious, I realized the exact same thing about the F-91w after wearing them for 3 or 4 years. Another alternative is the Casio F-84w, which is almost completely identical to the F-91w. It's slightly more expensive, but the default strap has small circular rather than wide ovular notches. This seems to have completely fixed the strap weakening/breaking problem. I have only had it for about a year, but it shows no signs of letting up anytime soon.

I was curious about what "pot steel" was - for anyone else who hadn't encountered it before: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pot_metal

It’s nice to know all those Casio watches I’ve been wearing for years and years probably have lead exposed on them :/

Modern pot metal alloys are nearly all lead free, partly due to the EU's RoHS regulations and partly because lead is a lot more expensive than zinc.

It's also worth pointing out that metallic lead isn't all that toxic - it's lead compounds that you need to worry about, especially organic compounds.

There's been a real dip in strap quality. I remember the only thing that would kill one was complete destruction(crushing) or simply losing it.

Ones I've purchased in past 5~ years all have had straps fail. They've clearly switched to cheaper materials.

They made a new model 'W-217H', which is just a larger F91W. I enjoyed the larger face and wouldn't go back to a F91. But the strap too broke a few months after use.

And like you said, with the cheapest of straps being almost the cost of the watch, and there's no guarantee it'll easily fit.

I love that watch. My biggest issue is the unintended button presses by bending the wrist and toggling 24h to AM/PM. Infuriating!

Similar to Travis Goodspeed's goodwatch project, which is a replacement board for Casio calculator watches that contains a sub-GHz programmable radio. I've built a few of them and had fun writing software for it.



Bought one in silver. As a massive product play, making this and other retro era watches into a fido authenticator would be the use case functionality that would make it huge.

I was going to do an Atari 2600 case based wifi router a while ago, and this idea of taking design classics and adapting them to minimalist modern use cases would be a company.

They also have a really cool zine that's loaded with 90s hacker culture. https://n-o-d-e.net/zine/index.html

Wow I'm amazed by the option of adding a chip from a tap to pay card.

This would be a lot better than an NFC chip on a standard smartwatch as the F91W could last for years with that chip inside it.

The F91W is cheap, and really reliable. I've always fantasized about modding one, and this exactly would be my dream. Sadly, I don't have enough time on my hands.

If it were for sale, I'd buy it immediately !

Your wish is almost granted: https://n-o-d-e.shop

The link is at the bottom of the site, but it's pretty subtle, and I think these watches have the same mods.

Edit: These have NFC, but no SD card, so maybe they will show up with enhanced storage later, but anyone wanting the NFC features with the watch it looks like they are available.

Edit Edit: The NFC chip in the ones for sale is not tap-to-pay :( still neat though!

It is possible to scavenge the NFC antenna/chip from an Oyster card or indeed any other card, which the author alludes to in their video. There are details floating around on how to do it, by dissolving the card in acetone.

However, the relevant authorities might take a dim view of repurposing the transit card in this manner and probably have certain restrictions in place, to deter people from defacing their property. On another note, the author is using a NTAG213 on the watches sold via the shop and Oyster is Mifare, from what I can remember. There might be issues with response times regarding the proximity to the reader, if you wanted to experiment.

I follow someone on twitter who explained how to do this at one point, using a Caltrain Clipper card, and put it in a resin ring :)

I could dig that up if it’s helpful but in general I think it’s pretty straight forward, just some risk of destruction :)

Oh, thank you so much ! I'll guess I'll be adding another F91W to my collection :)

It says: "Be aware, this particular NFC chip is NOT compatible with tap-to-pay."

hum... That's sad. It's almost there ! Does tap-to-pay require specific maker certificates ?

Tap to pay requires you to extract the certificates & private keys of a real card. You can write (or license) an EMV applet for any JavaCard or similar smartcard that allows you to run arbitrary code, but without the keys associated with a valid payment card it won't do anything.

While it does seem useful, I’d be curious of the security implications; does wearing such a thing on your wrist make it easy for others to scan your credentials? I’m not incredibly familiar with NFC chips, but they do seem to have a much shorter range than most regular RFID chips, which seems like it might help. However all anyone would have to do is embed a reader under/in the table you sit at (say, at work or at your local coffee shop). Maybe we can keep the circuit hidden in a faraday cage, such as another (modded) microSD card slot, and just pop out the chip when needed.

I built one of these, modified the firmware to show leap seconds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQaPtOPP09U

I ended up making an "app" to do hundredths of seconds for TSD rallies. Awesome project. My build is 2-4 years old (IIRC), so it has some power issues, sometimes I'll catch it waking itself up more than usual, and I can hear the wakeups in the piezo which doesn't help.

Please add a few bullet points on the top of the page, it takes way too long to figure out what functionality you added, when I open the page all I can see is you starting with "It's a mod of this model watch" and then you talk about how it looks now, and how you put it together...

Nice to see someone hosting his own video instead of using YouTube.

To me, the name of this sounded like it was going to be squeezing some kind of running/sports watch functionality into a Casio F91W (and ideally GPS!). But it's not that, it turns out (a few paragraphs later) that it's adding NFC for close-range data sharing and some other cool mods. Which makes more sense considering how small the watch is.

This is awesome. As I watched the video I was thinking how great it’d be to have an NFC chip for payments and transit in my watch. Of course, I remembered shortly after that my Apple Watch does this already but I never use it for NFC because it’s easier to hold your phone up to a reader than to twist your wrist and arm.

Neat mod. I like the nod to Johnny Mnemonic.

The mod could be used by spies to authenticate each other on a data drop. NFC powers the device and validates the key is correct. Once the two users are validated the data is exchanged and the data runner exfiltrates the payload.

Does anyone know what NFC transponder they might be using? I might have filtered too much on Mouser and missed it, but I'm struggling to find an 8KB module with that case. I also can't find it on the site since there's no BOM.

Freeze the video at 1:47 and you'll see K352 4SDYU from STMicroelectronics. Dug a little and came up with M24SR16-YDW6T/2 which can be found in DigiKey here: https://www.digikey.com/products/en?keywords=M24SR16-YDW6T%2...

That one is only a 2Kb though. They also make an 8Kb 4SFYU: https://www.digikey.com/products/en?keywords=M24SR64-YDW6T%2...

I am pretty clueless when it comes to NFC, does adding such a chip mean i could copy my Mifare Classic card onto the watch? That would be neat!

Goodness, I'm blind, completely missed that shot. Thanks!

I really like this idea. I'd prefer a more traditional or minimal looking watch, but I like some of the extra functionality I get from my Apple Watch. I would love something more in between the two.

Now I just need a TV-B-Gone on my F-91W!


I’ve been wanting a fitness tracker version of this watch for some time now.

Anyway, cool to see that this watch isn’t only a favorite of terrorists.

Couldn't you put the NFC chip in the watch band and use it with whichever watch you like?

I like how it takes 10s to render any text because the font's don't load ;)

But cool project!

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