Digital technologies have already impacted on the world of jewellery at a surprising and rapidly increasing rate. Since the first, tentative experiments with computer-aided design in the 1970s, through developments in computer numerically controlled manufacture in the 1980s and, critically, since the mid 1990s in rapid prototyping processes, the take up of all these technologies by the jewellery design and manufacturing community has accelerated to a degree that in view of the traditional values of the discipline is perhaps unexpected. It is fair to say that digital technologies now play some part, often the major part, in virtually every sector of jewellery design, manufacture and promotion, from that of the experimental artist-craftsman to that of the finest jewellery houses. The so-called ‘contemporary jewellery’ movement as a whole, however, has stood back from this development.
Contextualised by the field of contemporary jewellery but recognising a world of shifting values and changing resources, the seminars aims were broad and cross-disciplinary: to stimulate debate and to open up channels of communication on a range of methods, issues and opportunities - consequent in the main on developments in digital technology - that now confront the creators of contemporary jewellery, jewellery users and others in fields allied to that of jewellery. This seminar brought together an invited group of speakers and delegates including practitioners and theorists from jewellery and the applied arts, fashion and textile designers, historians, critics, policy-makers and environmentalists, to consider new research directives for the integration of digital technologies within the field of jewellery, and for the development of new research methodologies and innovative products. The seminar’s objectives included: a review of the impact of digital technologies on jewellery design and production to date; the identifications of key issues for the future development of jewellery in relation to digital technologies, and the exploration of new working processes and methodologies.
This paper explores the roles of Scentsor[ring]: digital jewellery embedded with wireless sensor networks and microfluidic devices for therapeutic, diagnostic and wellbeing applications. The development of this collection is inspired by the chemical language and interaction of organisms to dispense fragrance, triggered by sensors that react to an individual's body state (e.g. heart rate, temperature) and the environment (e.g. sound). Further sensors such as the ‘electronic nose’ will be introduced and unorthodox and innovative designs in jewellery will be examined.
There is increasing interest in the effect of the environment on wellbeing and symptoms of mental illness, but until now the focus of recent intervention in this area has been in the more distant or the interpersonal environment. This paper investigates intervention in the immediate personal air-space around the individual. Combined with other forms of support for improved mental health, many patients could welcome the prospect of jewellery that offers enhanced control of their emotional state, whether by conscious control or biofeedback. Several psychiatric disorders and symptoms will be investigated for an application of such Scentsor[ring] technologies i.e. the use of scents to enhance mood and improve psychological wellbeing.
This scooping will be undertaken in collaboration with experts in the area of mental health and wellbeing. The paper will conclude by proposing jewellery that mimics the sense of smell via electronic nose sensors in order to detect spoiled food, monitor pollutant chemicals in the air, or set the basis for revolutionary work in the diagnostic area such as pinpointing ovulation and diseases. By emulating a dog’s sense of smell the jewellery could sniff out explosives and narcotics, or detect the early stages of cancer. Further examples include jewellery that is pre-programmed to detect a potential partner’s pheromone profile and then send a sample of the users pheromones, or a mosquito repelling device, or an olfactive watch, or jewellery that offers wider-waves of feeling in (re)active environments.