Digitally-savvy travelers these days carry two types of mementos: the physical ones they've picked up during their adventures, and digital ones that they keep with them on their social networks and hard drives. The most addicted social media users I know love to scroll through their checked-in locations, counting up tips and memories on services like Foursquare and Facebook Places.
That's where Meshu, a new service that transforms geographic data shape into actual jewelry, comes in, taking that visualization and abstracting it in 2D space. It turns out that those lines make for perfect shapes that can be turned into earrings, cufflinks and necklaces. Whether you're an international jetsetter or you've simply lived in four of the five boroughs, you can either input the locations manually or import them from Foursquare to generate the shape. The jewelry arrives on a custom map packaging, so you can see how the shape reflects your travels.
It's a variation on the Quantified Self movement: if, for example, you've traveled around Asia, shape formed by the coordinates of the places you've visited (Foursquare check-ins will do the trick) is a common data visualization strategy to see the amount of miles traveled over time.
What might seem like a gimmicky idea actually produces lovely patterns, each one unique and personal yet not as obvious as, say, a tattoo of a zip code or "Ithaca is Gorges" tee.
Designers Sha Hwang and Rachel Binx rely on Shapeways for their printing and Ponoko to laser cut—showing yet another way these tools can make burgeoning industrial designers' practices more viable. Check out meshu.io for more info.