The Future of Jewelry? Virtual Necklace Is Produced by Light Waves



Forget smart jewelry. The newest trend might be pieces that don’t exist.

In what it describes as “the probable future of jewelry,” a Polish design group has created a virtual necklace generated by digital images projected on the wearer’s body.

“We predict that wearable projections and projection-based jewelry will become a reality in a few years,” says the site for Neclumi, a creation of Warsaw-based art collective panGenerator, which says it’s “posing [the] question: [Are we] willing to abandon atoms of gold for waves of light?” 

A site video shows four different geometric light patterns displayed on the wearer’s neck by a small wearable projector, called a picoprojector. The design can respond to body movement as well as ambient sound and the wearer’s walking speed. The video demonstrates the necklace swaying and moving as the model does, creating an undeniably intriguing effect.

The non-necklace remains very much a work in progress, admits designer Jakub Ko?niewski. Currently, the projector requires an HDMI cable, but Ko?niewski says he’s working on a stand-alone (cable-free) version with a smaller projector.

The projector is about the size of an iPhone 4, and “it’s wearable in our setup, but it’s far away from being universally comfortable,” he tells JCK. “Nonetheless, the core technology of the picoprojector is getting smaller. Those things could be the size of matchbox without much problem. The technology is there. We just weren’t able to obtain anything much smaller that suited our needs at the time.”

For now, the projector—which also has a gyroscope and accelerometer, to measure the wearer’s movement—is hidden on the wearer, but Ko?niewski hopes to make it fashionable and part of the piece. “For the stand-alone version we’d probably like to bring it to the daylight,” he says. 

Courtesy panGenerator

His group wants to commercialize the idea and is open to working with the jewelry industry, though he admits the concept still requires tweaking.

“We’re curious how this idea is perceived and what’s seen as the core value of the project and what raises questions,” he says. “We’re not going to jump right away on Kickstarter until we’re sure we could deliver best possible experience.” 

He adds the group will likely “provide an open-source DIY kit that would allow anyone with appropriate picoprojector, smartphone, and 3-D printer at hand to create his own wearable setup.” 

JCK News Director