Microjewels: Digital Enchantment and New Materiality
AbstractThis article is an extended version of a paper presented at the xCoAx 2015 conference, and explores how smart materials, and in particular thermochromic silicone, can be integrated into a wearable object in combination with microelectronics to create aesthetically coherent stimulus-reactive jewellery. The different types and properties of thermochromics are discussed, including experiments with layering pigments that react at different temperatures within three dimensional silicone shapes. The concept of creating digital enchantment through playful interaction is introduced, illustrating how accessible microelectronics can be used to facilitate the creation of responsive jewellery objects. Bringing together digital methods of fabrication with craft methodologies to create objects that respond intimately to changes in the body of the wearer and the environment is presented as an outcome of this research project. Moving towards the notion of a posthuman body, potential practical applications for these jewellery objects exist in the areas of human–computer interaction, transplant technology, identity management and artificial body modification, where such symbiotic jewellery organisms could be used to develop visually engaging, multifunctional enhancements.
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