We at Drap og Design (drapogdesign.com) made this device because senses and how we interpret them are awesome.
What is moss green to you? How does a seagull sound to your mother? What does 'just right' feel like, and how far away is that bear anyway?
For this project we quickly decided to focus on the individual differences in sensory impressions. No matter how we choose to describe what we sense, our counterparts can never really know how it feels to us and how this relates to their own sensory impressions. This gap is as unique as every single individual, and we saw great potential in investigating this.
In the early phases of this project we worked on ways to bridge said gap between how sensory impressions are perceived in individuals. For instance, even though we can usually agree on whether something is near or far, loud or quiet or heavy or light, these are still learned impressions so to speak. Initially we worked on two directions, the first one being a system to calibrate personal perceptions to a standardized scale. In addition to this we also worked on a new unit system similar to the International System of Units, but that would be based on the range of human sensory potential.
After working on these two directions for a while, we decided that we wanted our work to have a more abstract approach. We evaluated our research and the insight gained at this point and found that individual differences in sensory perception was well worth continued exploration. However, instead of trying to bridge the gap we decided to emphasize and applaud it.
We explored how to amplify these differences and developed a system of imaginary tools, one for each sense. Rather than working with the receptors related to each sense, these tools enhance our individual differences by modifying the sensory input based on qualities like for instance physical traits.
Hörlur is a device that adapts the sounds surrounding you according to the unique physical qualities of your ear.
Chunky earlobe, dumbo ears, hard cartilage or narrow helix? These are all examples of physical traits that influence our perception of sound. With Hörlur these features help amplify our personal soundscape, enhancing our unique listening experience.
Hörlur activates as soon as you hold it up to your head, and continuously converts sound around you based on the shape of your ear. An intricate system of rods spread out in circles around a centering pin is pushed in when you use Hörlur, changing the sound input by various degrees of resonance throughout the frequency range.
This project explores how what we hear is really a unique listening experience, and illustrates how minor differences can impact this.
We wanted to emphasize the explorative and playful side of Hörlur rather than its utility value. To stress this we chose to build the first prototype in cork, concrete and cloth.