Jewelry has been used throughout centuries, to add to the beauty of a woman and elegance of a man, and it has always been ornamental, whatever metal it is made of.
Things are changing now. Jewelry now has various other uses apart from the obvious. This century sees the influx of jewelry with technology in it; call it wearable computers if you may. The mention conjures up images of something strapped to the wrist or to a belt.
Did you ever hear of jewelry with a USB drive in it, a hidden microphone in a ring, speakers in chains or even electric bulbs in earrings? Researchers across the world have begun to envision devices that can be embedded into items of jewelry that are worn every day.
This vision includes a PAN (Personal Area Network) of devices distributed all over the body in all sorts of jewelry items that include rings, watches, bracelets, earrings and necklaces. This futuristic look or should we call it the “Star Wars look,” will emerge sooner than later.
From being viewed as an investment product, jewelry is now being pitched against luxury products. Faced with the rising gold prices and falling sales, along with growing competition from other lifestyle products such as laptops and mobiles, the jewelry industry felt the need to innovate and have been successful in coming up with novel ways of taking on their competition, in order to stay afloat.
Earlier, jewelry used to be conventional and also an investment product but the mould is broken now. Embedded devices are possibly going to be application appliances that will not need a button to start and with no display.
Now that experts in the field and students from various colleges throughout the world are working on innovative concepts and designs, which will add utility value to jewelry products, it is exciting to think of some useful applications. In fact, there could be several.
For example, if a family goes on vacation and every member of the family has a device embedded in a bracelet, pendant or a watch, parents will be able to keep track of their children and even send messages when the meal is ready or something like that. Another example could be of a player on a Golf course wearing a device to check the distance of the hole. How about being able to write your exams with the answers coming out of your ears or earrings rather?
Embedded jewelry devices can also be used where computers are inconvenient. A quick glance at your bracelet will be all that is needed for you to get an alert, if not a complete message.
Jewelers believe that initially it will take a little time for this new type of jewelry to make an impact on people and for sales to pick up, but they are certain that very soon it will catch up and become the trend.
With the coming of age of embedded jewelry computing, it is just a matter of time for a wearable operating system on the wrist to evolve.