The project was inspired by a research course at ArtCenter College of Design. The course was a 12-week research project with a 2-week design execution based on the research. The final project consisted of 3D alphabetical letterforms that reacts sensitively to sound waves. The study of these unique forms were created through the retrieved audios of nature. The main research stemmed from studying echolocation.
Echolocation is a technique used by bats, dolphins and other animals to determine the location of objects using reflected sound. This allows the
animals to move around in pitch darkness, so they can navigate, hunt, identify friends and enemies, and avoid obstacles.
As I continued to research more about echolocation and sound waves, I have discovered that echolocation is not only used by dolphins or bats. Over the course of many years, many visually impaired individuals are able to listen and communicate with their environments by using Echolocation to navigate. Stories about these individuals began to unravel and became a large inspiration for the study and exploration. A great story that I found was about this man, Daniel Kish, who was driven by fearless curiosity to teach himself and many others to navigate by clicking his tongue and listening for echoes — a method science calls echolocation, and that Kish calls FlashSonar.
By listening to these stories, I have become inspired to use echolocation beyond the practical uses of navigation by applying them through a design lens. I explored a new design program called Blender to create the forms and experimented the use of sound inputs to each of these letterforms. I noticed that on each level of a sound wave, the form began expanding and morphing into thicker and thinner weights. I morphed three of these explorations to create each of the letterforms.