h e r i n   h a r a m o t o

An interaction designer with passion for people and nature. Recently graduated from CIID in feb 2021, currently looking for an opportunity.

Recent works include:
🌿Life Centered Design
🤖Machine Learning,
🌈Creative Coding,
🦾Physical Computing,
and 🎨Illustration

 ✻   My story
︎ CV
︎ Play
︎ Favorite books/movies

Herin Haramoto

An interaction designer with a passion for people and nature.

Recent works include: 🌿Life Centered Research, 🤖Machine Learning, 🌈Creative Coding, 🦾Physical Computing, 🦋Biomimicry, 🎬Animation and 🎨Illustration

 ✻   My story                         
︎ CV                         
︎ Play

Feel sound and create music using non-auditory senses

Interaction Design / Inclusive Design - Final Project

9 Weeks | Nov 2020 - Feb 2021 | Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design

Individual Project

Role: Design Research, Workshop Facilitation, Synthesizing, Ideation, Rapid Prototyping, User Testing, Concept Development, Concept Video

Tool: Arduino, Rhinoceros, Ableton Live, Sound Plant,  Adobe Illustrator
Advisor: Arunima Singh

Design Opportunity

In Costa Rica, access to information for the deaf is limited. It is because most information relies on hearing. Even in daily life, it is rare for the deaf to communicate with hearing individuals. They use sign language, whereas hearing individuals use Spanish as their first language. This communication divide separates the deaf people of Costa Rica from hearing people into two large groups.

How might we create an inclusive environment by bridging the gap between the deaf and hering people and reduce the barriers of accessibility?

What is Color Tone?

It is a set of tools to experience the physicality of sound. Anyone can experience sound with non-auditory senses and use color and tactile feedback to create music. What kind of music would be created if we did not rely on our sense of hearing? What new experiences would we encounter? 

First, you place the Sound Tokens on the Music Ring of the same color, and the lamp will play sound

The sound is linked to the color, so each time a token is placed, the color changes

Smaller tokens make a lower pitch sound, and taller tokens make a higher pitch sound

You can also change the space between them and alter the rhythm of the sound

The more haptic balls you add, the stronger the vibration will be

Pitch or tempo blocks can also be added to influence sound or tempo

To feel the vibrations, put your hands on the top of the lamp

This is the portable sound learning device. You can bring this outside and experience the sounds around you with non-auditory senses. The device reacts to the noises and sounds in your environment and emits different colored light while vibrating according to the sound's frequency

Expand the possibilities of enjoying music and lowering the barriers between deaf and hearing people by allowing people with hearing loss to perceive sound in a different way.

Color Tone was my attempt to expand the possibilities of enjoying music and lowering the barriers between deaf and hearing people by allowing people with hearing loss to perceive sound in different ways. I hope that this project will help spread understanding of deaf people, enable hearing people experience how deaf people perceive the world, and create a connection between them.

Research Process

We unconsciously rely on sound in our lives. The sounds of noisy cars and bicycles keep us safe when crossing the street, and the sounds of nature and music enrich our lives. If sound were to disappear, what would we rely on for our daily lives?

My design process began with a silent walk in the city. Through walking around the city with earplugs, I first realized how much I rely on sound in my daily life. I also realized how unnoticed the deaf people are in the street. I also conducted online in-depth interviews with 7 deaf and hard-of-hearing people, 4 hearing people, a special education school teacher, a music therapist, and an audiologist.

Online in-depth interviews with a deaf community in Costa Rica

Online expert interviews

As a part of reserach activity, I took the group of deaf people out into the coffee farm to observe how they communicate with each other and hearing people, and how they use their senses in nature.

Through my research, I also learned that music is more accessible to them than I thought. In order to get more people’s experiences with music, I conducted an online survey. Deaf people enjoy music as they feel the vibrations, dance, and sing songs in sign language. 

Key Insights






Visual Information




Shared Feeling

In Costa Rica, deaf people often feel left out, especially when there are a lot of hearing people in the room and the conversation focuses on speaking. Even on the street, people often feel uncomfortable when they are spoken to because people are not aware that they are hearing-impaired, and are mistakenly thought to be ignoring them.
In Costa Rica, access to information for the deaf is limited. It is because most information relies on hearing. When using public transportation, going to the hospital, or watching TV, there is still very little visual information available, and the services of interpreters are not well developed.
For deaf people, the ability to obtain information visually is even greater than for those who can hear. And their desire for visual information is very strong. However, since their vision is particularly sensitive to compensate for their hearing, a lot of visual information can become noise to them.
Sign language is the primary language for deaf people, whereas the hearing individual uses Spanish. This language barrier hinders communication between deaf people and hearing people. Also, common misconception that deaf people in Costa Rica receive is that they all understand Spanish. For them, learning a soundless alphabet takes more effort than it does for hearing people learn a language, and more than we imagine, a lot of deaf people cannot understand Spanish.
Deaf people recognize that their world is different from hearing people. Many of them wished that there was a society where they could communicate more smoothly and connect with hearing people.

“The memorable moment was when I got involved”.
"Hearing people don’t care about us”.
“If we had more visual-based information, our lives would be much easier”.

“I go to mountains because the city is very distructive and tiring (visually)”.

“Maybe they cannot communicate without aid or sign language”.

“I will use text app on my phone to communicate.” 
“I wish there were more cultural activities availble that both deaf and hearing people can participate together”.


At the beginning of the project, I was thinking of something like a sign-language translator, and they were very keen on it. However, through co-creation workshops and other activities, I found out that they did not see the real value in such slow communication. They wanted to connect with hearing people through more direct and intuitive communication. I was also encouraged by their pride as deaf people, their deep culture and beautiful sign language. Rather than giving them another aiding device, I wanted to create something that would allow them to feel connected to hearing people while using music as a mode of communication.

Prototype & User Test

Over the course of a month, I built several prototypes from low-fi to mid-fi, tested my hypotheses, and gained the perspectives of deaf and hearing people