Charmed: Can jewellery tell us what we want from wearable technology

Lead Research Organisation: University of Dundee
Department Name: Duncan of Jordanstone College


Charmed: Can jewellery tell us what we want from wearable technology?

Research into wearable computing tends to be undertaken by Product Designers and Engineers in an effort to enable ubiquitous computing: email at the top of a mountain. Rather than miniaturising office and communication systems, this project aims to discover what new kinds of interactivity might be relevant to users in a wearable device.
This research project uses a charm bracelet as a research tool. The charm bracelet with its familiarity and associations may be a user-friendly way of discovering what would be useful and meaningful in wearable computing. The metaphor of the charm is a useful one, as charms are added to a bracelet over time and have specific 'powers' or significance: from protecting the wearer from evil to bringing luck and reminding the wearer of a loved one. Participants in the project will be asked to wear a bracelet, neckpiece or tie-pin featuring of a series of interchangeable 'charms' over a period of weeks. Charms can be added to or removed and wearers can add their own objects. Qualitative data will be gathered using cultural probes and interview to ascertain what 'powers' (interactive capabilities) participants would assign to their charms. The project combines the insights of jewellery design: wear ability, personal attachment and value with user-centered design: inviting the wearer to contribute their insights to the development of products.
The findings will suggest new design opportunities for interactive jewellery devices, which will be the basis for a larger project to develop these ideas into working prototypes.


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