Fractal: Living Jewelry is the latest project to emerge from the from Philips Design Probes, a ‘far-future’ research initiative that tracks emerging cultural and technological trends. The responsive wearable prototype consists of large gem-like structures embedded with sensors and LEDs. The sensors measure movement, excitement levels and proximity of others and, in response, alter the intensity of the LED lighting.
More than clothing or adornment, the piece almost looks like a second “smart” skin that transforms the human silhouette with its geometric shapes. Why is this important? What is unique and interesting about the Fractal project is that it questions and, perhaps extends, the role that clothing and adornment plays in culture and society. It also opens up the possibility of creating new expressions (what they call “Hybrid” forms) by using new techniques in garment construction and assembly. According to the site: This opens up the possibility of ‘Hybrid’ forms and new functionalities in the search for solutions in the spaces of traditional apparel functionality – thermal protection, structure and support, water resistance, providing modesty, flesh control, and the ever-changing style calendars.