While many wearable tech companies focus on physical accessories including smart watches and health-sensing wristbands, the Warsaw-based new media design and art group panGenerator is taking quite a different approach. In an attempt to envision “a probably future of jewelry,” they've created NECLUMI, which they bill as “the first projection-based interactive necklace.”
As the collective explains on the NECLUMI website, the projected necklace runs on a custom iPhone app connected via HDMI cable to a handheld pico projector attached to a person's chest. As seen in panProjector's video (above), NECLUMI allows the user to select from several projected patterns, each of which are interactive.
The NECLUMI prototype features four patterned light necklaces. Airo triggers a horizontal pattern of lines that react to the user's walking speed. If a user stops, so too does the Airo projection. Using the iPhone's compass, the Roto setting allows NECLUMI to react to a person's bodily rotation. If a user turns their body to the right, a stream of light particles travel counter-clockwise. Turn left, and the light reverses in a clockwise fashion.
The Movi setting gives users the option to exploit a phone's accelerometer to chart their body's movement up and down, as well as left and right. And with Sono, a smartphone's microphone allows people to use their voice to control the projected necklace pattern.
“Given the rate of miniaturisation of the pico projector technology and observing the trend of wearables treated more as jewelry and fashion accessories rather than just gadgets, we predict that wearable projection and projection-based jewelry become a reality in a few years,” panGenerator write on the NECLUMI website. “We’re currently committed to create a standalone version of the project and we’re opened for funding and collaboration.”
While it might initially be startling to see someone on the street at night outfitted with projected necklaces or other jewelry, as the technology matures and designers create other ways of mapping accessories and fashion onto people, things could all start looking very cyberpunk, very quickly. As was the case for characters from Neil Stephenson's Snow Crash or William Gibson's Neuromancer, a simple stroll around the block could blossom into an evolving spectacle of futuristic fashion.
Stay tuned for panProjector's future experiments in wearable projections over on their website.