Galatea has developed a method that implants a computer chip inside a pearl, enabling it to store pictures, audio, and video that can be accessed by tapping it against a smartphone.
According to Galatea founder Chi Huynh, the chip inside the new Momento pearl is equipped with near-field communication (NFC) technology, so simply tapping it against an NFC-enabled phone will bring up the images, even if the phone doesn’t hold a specific app.
There are two ways that the 1.5-mm-wide chip is implanted in the pearl, Hunyh says. In the first way, a small hole is drilled into the pearl and the chip is placed in.
The second way is that the chip is added to the nucleus and then placed in the oyster so the pearl grows around it for 18 months. That will be a more limited-edition type of product.
For the time being, the chip can store only one video or several pictures, but it’s possible it will eventually be able to access an unlimited amount of information located in the cloud. And while this could have certain practical applications—for instance, it might contain a person’s medical history or music collection—Hunyh is more interested in the emotional aspect. He wants wearers to use it to hold pictures and media files they consider significant.
“If you have to find a picture on a computer it is not meaningful,” he says. “This personalizes it. It is the most meaningful part of someone’s life, and it is right there next to you.”
Which is why he thinks this technology is particularly well-suited for jewelry.
“Jewelry is really personal,” he says. “When people die, it is passed down. My father gave me a pocket watch that is the most beautiful gift. Whenever I see that, it reminds me of him. Imagine if it could also hold all his voice and all the things that he taught me. It is like the person is still in there, and you see and hear them the moment you tap it. It is very magical.”
Galatea also plans to introduce similar NFC-enabled jewelry with gemstones and diamonds.