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The ‘Purple’ locket prototype stores and displays digital photos. Photo Credit: Artefact

We can carry thousands of everyday pictures on the smartphones in our pockets, but what about the traditional notion of a carrying treasured photos in a beautiful locket, worn around the neck?

A new prototype, announced today by the Seattle-based Artefact product design firm, aims to revive that concept and upgrade it for the digital age.

Purple-gif1Called Purple, the prototype locket features a small touch screen that displays a collection of browsable photos. It works in conjunction with a smartphone app to let users select photos and transfer them to the locket using Bluetooth Low Energy wireless technology. The locket charges wirelessly when it’s left in a ceramic charging bowl.

It’s part of the boom in wearable technology, but the firm says it’s taking a different approach.

“Purple is jewelry first, technology second,” explains Artefact on the project page. “From the curved lid of the locket to the unique chain hook, Purple is designed to be an heirloom piece of jewelry. Timeless materials like platinum, silver, gold and even brushed brass, together with pure smooth lines make it stand out in the sea of wearable gadgets.”

The design was led by Artefact user experience designer Jennifer Darmour. It’s the first proof of concept prototype out of Startefact, the firm’s internal innovation and incubation program.

The firm is exploring possible partnerships to bring the locket to market, but more than that, it’s hoping it can serve as an example for the industry: “We hope it can be a case study of how the fashion and technology industry need complement each other to deliver meaningful wearables,” a spokeswoman explains.

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