The next big thing.
As part of her masters work at the Interaction Design Institute in Italy, Ruth Kikin-Gil developed what she has called BuddyBeads. Her website notes:
BuddyBeads are techno-jewelry items that facilitate non-verbal and emotional communication among group members, through codes and signals which the group decided upon together.How it works: the bead designs make use of the mobile phone network to provide opportunities for girls to convey emotions and group identity. A group of girls each have a buddy bead bracelet which is connected via mobile phone. The electronic beads are activated by pressing and send information to the other bracelets via the mobile phone connection. Different patterns of bead pressing provide information to the others allowing a version of digital chatting.
Each group member has a matching jewelry piece and can use it to communicate her emotional state to the other group members. Messages are decided by the group in advance and construct a secret private code among its members
The beads, bracelets and communication system were developed in conjunction with groups of girls (and boys).
This time next year we'll all be wearing them (well, those of us with enough friends).