Core Rope Memory

This is Core Rope Memory, a type of read-only memory that was used in the Apollo space program. It was often called LOL (Little Old Lady) memory, because it was painstakingly woven by hand by seamstresses.

Core rope memory test sample from the Apollo Program. (photo from Wikipedia)

The core concept (ba dum dum) of this type of memory is that the wires (green in the photo above) weave in and out of the cores (red beads above); each wire is a binary word (in my jewellery, a character) and each bit is encoded by the wire going through (1) or around (0) the bead.

This photo made me want to have a piece of this memory to wear. It's beautiful, and I love the idea of jewellery that encodes a message. I began with beads and embroidery thread, but as I worked on the design I started to want jewellery that not only encoded a message, but could be read electronically.

The first step in that process was to make a working demonstration of a small piece of Core Rope Memory. There are a few short videos showing the working demo in this post, and you can see some of the steps along the way in posts labeled core-rope-memory. I presented the demo at Dublin Maker 2015.

I had a stall at Octocon 2015 where I sold the bead-based jewellery (amongst other things). I'm still taking orders (email contact[at]timui[dot]org), but my main focus for the project is now miniaturizing the demo so that I can make wearable jewellery that can be read electronically.

Here are a couple of photos of prototypes:

And some of the orders from Octocon weekend

I've just ordered some toroidal balloons from and I can't wait to use them in my display for Dublin Maker 2016!

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