Kinetic Adornments 

Photo Credit: Jenna Bascom

Kinetic Adornments is an exploratory research project investigating alternative aesthetics and interactions of wearables that might be enabled by 3D-printing in near future. As 3D printing offers new ways to fabricate and customize body-worn objects, we aimed to explore a possible application of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D printing technologies in that space.

User Study
In the research, we conducted in-depth interviews with nine individuals from diverse backgrounds, about their relationship with their favorite non-metal jewelry. We specifically indicated non-metal jewelry. In a previous study, where we interviewed jewelry wearables more generally, participants mostly brought in simple, sentimental metal jewelry they had received as gifts, but given we were working with plastic 3D printing we wanted to focus in to the non-metal domain. We were more interested in what individuals choose for themselves, as part of their self-expression.

The participants were asked to bring their favorite non-metal jewelry in the interview, and we asked them questions about it to build an understanding of their relationship with that jewelry and motivations to wear it. Then, the prototypes exhibited here, which are created with 3D printed parts from MJF color test bed and electronics were presented to them. Without revealing that these pieces are 3D-printed, we guided a conversation around potentially augmenting their existing jewelry or customizing new wearables like these. We asked them the first impressions of it and also to imagine if their jewelry could move in ways similar to how our prototypes move. What would they want the movement to mean? Would they still consider it jewelry? How would the relationship differ?

Butterfly Kinetic Brooch made of color 3D-printed parts and electronics from hacked toy. It flaps its wings when turned on. It was demonstrated with other prototypes in the user study as a probe to ask participants questions.

We deliberately chose to design these pieces to encompass a range of different forms and visual styles, increasing the chances that a participant might feel a connection with one of them. The necklace with rotating ball and blue chains is meant to be subtle and neutral, while the spinning pendant is designed to be more playful in addition to the butterfly brooch demonstrating vibrant characteristics with flapping wings.

The kinetic elements are applied to the prototypes to provoke participants’ imagination on its potential function during the interview. We were also inspired by contemporary art jewelers like Vernon Reed who incorporated electronics into jewelry in the 80s and 90s. Although most of the hype has come from the wearable technology side to miniaturize device and make it look casual on human body, we strongly wanted to craft not only futuristic, but also meaningful, personal, and fun pieces with 3D-printing.


Early prototypes of the Butterfly Brooch made of rhine stones and electronics

Installation at the “Non-Stick Nostalgia: Y2K Retrofuturism in Contemporary Jewelry Exhibition (2019),” Museum of Arts and Design in New York (Photo Credit: Jenna Bascom)

Demonstration of the brooch by Mirjana Spasojevic (head of IXL, HP Labs) at RISE 2017 conference

HP Labs (2018 - 2019)
Research, user study planning: Alex Ju, Jiwon Jun
Design and fabrication of Butterfly Brooch: Jiwon Jun
Design and fabrication of Necklace and Penadant: Alex Ju
PA12 color parts printed by Andrew E Fitzhugh
“Non-Stick Nostalgia: Y2K Retrofuturism in Contemporary Jewelry Exhibition”
at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York

RISE conference 2017