CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS — Researchers from MIT Media Lab have taken wearable tech to another level by developing jewelry designed with small robots that can roam freely around your body.

The robot consists of motors connected to magnetic wheels on top and underneath the fabric, which allows it to change orientation. The overlay cover can be made of gem-like or fabric-like material. The invention is part of the Project Kino by MIT Media Lab.

The robots can form various shapes and designs when used as jewelry. They can also adjust the clothing of the user when detecting a change in temperature, or serve as a microphone when the user needs to answer a call.

Currently the robots are designed to be palm-sized, but researchers say they will be miniaturized to the point that they can be “seamlessly integrated into existing body ornamentation”, according to the project website.

“We’re thinking of wearables as a personal assistant,” Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao of MIT Media Lab told TechCrunch. “We think in the future, when they can have a brain of their own, they can learn your habits, learn your professional style, and when they get smaller, they can blend into the things you wear.”

According to Forbes, 411,000,000 smart wearable devices worth $34 billion will be sold in 2020. Wrist-based devices, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, are dominating the market at the moment and this trend is likely to continue.


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