Creepy-Crawly or High-Tech: Crawling “Jewelry”

MIT PhD research student Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao wants to take your jewelry to the next level.  Her research centers around accessories & wearable that are mobile, living objects on the body.  From the project excerpt:

“Traditionally static jewelry and accessories will start displaying life-like qualities, learning, shifting, and reconfiguring to the needs and preferences of the wearer.  With wearables that possess hybrid qualities of the living and the crafted, we explore a new on-body ecology for human-wearable symbiosis.”


Kino generates dynamic textile patterns through movement. (Credit: Jimmy Day)

The Kino Project is exploring “living” jewelry, that is actually made from miniaturized robots.  They are capable of roaming across your clothing, changing location and even changing their appearance! Add sensors and the robots can actively respond to the conditions around it. Paired with your mobile device, the robot becomes your own personal Siri.


Kino leaves visible tracks during movement on fabrics such as velvet – the clothing becomes a canvas to etch designs. (Credit: Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao)

The fashion implications are impressive as well.  Cover designs on the robots combined with clothing creates unique patterns & effects as the bot moves around the wearer’s body.  Multiple pieces could work together, forming the building blocks for jewelry that transforms from brooch to necklace depending on the wearer’s instructions.


Kino shape changing jewelry transitioning between brooch and necklace. (Credit: Jimmy Day)

It’s not likely that you will see these wearables on the runway anytime soon, but the possibilities are certainly intriguing.

Source:  Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, Deborah Ajilo, Oksana Anilionyte, Artem Dementyev, Inrak Choi, Sean Follmer, Chris Schmandt, “Exploring Interactions and Perceptions of Kinetic Wearables”, ACM DIS’17, Edinburgh, UK (June 10-14, 2017).


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