Precious Materials of Interaction

Precious Materials of Interaction

Projektet är ett samarbete mellan forskare och formgivare där vi undersöker hur interaktionsdesign och moderna elektroniska objekt kan sammansmälta med samtida smyckeskonst. Undersökningarna kretsar kring hur objekten passar till kropp och mode och kring begrepp som hållbarhet, exklusivitet och längtan efter det naturliga. Projektet ska resultera i en kollektion bärbar elektronik som också är unika smycken.


Several concrete designs have been developed and the pieces have been presented in three public exhibitions and were given a central position in the Nordes`2015 conference exhibition at Konstfack (june 2015). Additionally, the project has been discussed with some of Mobile Life Centre’s partners, such as Ikea, Ericsson and ABB, who showed much interest in the project.





First Workshop

It is time for the first (official) workshop of 'Precious Materials of Interaction' project. 

This workshop will take place at Mobile Life research centre in Kista, on Wednesday the 22nd of Oct. (9am-5pm). 

Eleven participants with a background mainly in interacrtion design, will focus on specific topics around jewelry and interaction and explore them through practical work with materials, conceptual designs and enactment of interaction scenarios. The focus will be on exploring new ways of understanding and relating to the following concepts:

exclusivity/uniqueness, fragility, preciousness, durability, wornness (patina), craftedness, materiality of the ‘natural’, ephemerality.

Silver shells, bright LEDs and silk


In what types of 'cases' could we host electronics, especially bigger units such as circuit boards and batteries? 

This was one of the explorations we did with materials such as copper and silver. Emma, our jewelry designer sketched and crafted a series of containers in various sizes, shapes and metals, where electronics can be hosted. Inspired by sea and nature, some of the forms remind sea shells, chestnuts or mushrooms. 



Directions regarding technology


What do we mean by ‘interactive jewelry’? What could jewelry do, in terms of input/output? After a brainstorming we had among our group, we came up with a number of ‘functionalities’-as we called them. Below is a list of possible functionalities and a short example/explanation for each one.

  • Social interactions: a jewel could initiate interactions between people in public space.
  • Expression: it could be something that has aesthetic functionality.
  • Communication: between two people, or between a person and a device.
  • Controlling things: jewelry could be used to control a mobile phone, MP3 player or other device.
  • Body data: since worn close to the body, it can trace body data.
  • Re-making existing functionalities: how can an MP3 player be re-designed as a necklace?
  • Encouraging movement: it could urge the person to move their body in unconventional ways (e.g. health purposes)
  • Interface of information: show time, notifications or web information.
  • Reflecting memories, stories and meanings: reminder of cherished places, people.

Another idea we had was to start from the actual technology (electronic components), instead of functionalities. Discussing this possibility for our project, we chose to focus on three simple and basic outputs: light, motion and sound. These have been widely explored in the field of interaction design, in a number of electronic products, prototypes and artistic installations. Also in the field of wearable technology we have seen a huge variety of projects, were sound, light or motion are explored.

These three output possibilities (light, motion, sound) could be combined with one of the functionalities mentioned above, for example a motor integrated on a bracelet could move and change position, when the wearer receives a new mail (interface of information).







How to approach such a complex design project, where fine crafting, electronics, aesthetics and interaction need to be combined? 

We need firstly to expand and open up the design space, but then to take decisions on how to proceed with our project. Since we will design a series of prototypes, we need to define an aesthetic direction they will reflect. For example do we want to follow geometric forms, more ‘classic’ or contemporary style of jewelry?

Currently we are inspired by the eastern culture and nature and we want this to be reflected in our upcoming electronic jewelry. Some of the key words that explain more what we mean: Chinese fine art, paintings with small details, nature and sea, haiku poetry, wabi sabi, simple, fragile, sensual, almost perfect. 


Precious Materials of Interaction

Meeting at KTH

Group discussion about ideas and project schedule. 

We want to focus on conceptual designs of 'interactive jewelry'. Firstly start with simple scenarios of what jewelry could do and then discuss how to implement this. 

Technology that could be used (Define form, size and other factors):
-Muscle wire, motors, tiny speakers… 
-OSC and pure data (music scratching jewery)
-Headphones: music instrument jewellery
-Microcontrollers (e.g. OSC, rFlea)
Possible ways to start:
  • Hack existing headset, or make something that communicates to the phone and to the headset (e.g. change volume, tracks)
  • Work with dummies (size, shape) and explore
  • 3, 10, 11, 12: DIGITAL inputs
Explore ways of wearing...
Can we do something interesting and nice with LEDs, less techy and more aesthetic?
Maybe the LEDs could be used as an 'alarm' of something?: Give it meaning for example as a clock. 
Rethinking the form factors (e.g. push instead of pull…)
Motor from old phones.
Musical tones (bells that vibrate?)
Sparks from electricity on the body..? 
Professional jewelry crafting and materials:
-copper, silver, wood, leather, silicone?
Think of conceptual ideas. How would I wear it? How it would behave? What should it do?