Processing Beauty

Open source goes highbrow with an algorithmically generated jewelry line that mimics nature

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Diehard Arduino users know that Processing is the framework that is used for building a sketch into an ATmega168 AVR project. Well, step aside, Arduino, because there’s a new maker on the block: Nervous System.

Founded by jewelry designers Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, Nervous System actually grows” one-of-a-kind bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and brooches from two of the most unlikely of technological advancements. The first is the open-source programming initiative called Processing. Rosenkrantz and Louis-Rosenberg used Processing to build two algorithms (a particle system one called Radiolaria and a diffusion limited aggregation called Dendrite), which users can manipulate via applets on the Nervous System site.

Think nature’s sea creatures, diatoms, coral, and seaweed meet Mr. Algorithm. The result is unique and beautiful patterns that can be transformed into fine jewelry. And that’s where the second bit of technology enters the picture — the fabrication process. WaterJets, photochemical metal etching, silicone rubber, recycled rubber, and recycled stainless steel with gold plating are all used in the making of each jewelry piece.

In addition to generating your own, you can purchase already created designs. While modestly priced (for instance, the Full Moon gold Dendrite necklace is $70) these are occasionally limited-edition designs. So you’d be better off getting Processing today. Better yet, use the Nervous System applets to create your own lineup of nature-inspired jewelry. Christmas is just five months away.