01.Who are we in a family? Mom? Dad? Somebody's legal guardian? That sounds great. But children who live in families without these typical roles can have plenty of love as well. Besides conveying responsibility relationship and blood bond, these labelling roles categories families.

If you have ever observed, sometimes people are hurt by this invisible border, especially children.

Families are diversifying, and the proportion of non-nuclear families is gradually increasing. This situation makes it necessary and ugent for us to question the rationality of family categorisation and explore the current identification system's dark side.

My response is an identification mechanism that is different from the legal and kinship status system. Relatively, it emphasises the human difference in natural attributes and the wholeness of all family members' identity, rather than assigning roles by labelling. In the utopia, Yugoo (the device) defines each family member with a short sound note. Sound identities are not labels nor comparable characteristic, which leads to the disappearance of family boundaries.

This project started from my childhood memories. As I can't speak yet, I can easily identify my family members by distinguishing the sound of their footsteps. But at that time they could only be named according to their functions, such as people who like to lift me up, people who like to rub hard "hair" (beard) on my skin, or those who sing for me with a sweet voice. In the early stages, my expectation for the project was a domestic sound installation which generate sound identity from footsteps for family members, called Yugoo.

Project has a name “under your halo” becaused I was deeply inspired by Buddhalism monasteries’ culture. People live together as a sweet family without any blood bond nor legal certifications.









02. My main target audiences will be families, organizations and welfare department. So I prepared seperate versions for both children and adults. (starting)

I didn’t design a form for Yugoo because I believe that it has many possibilities. It can be shaped into a new category of household products, smart plug-ins or software integrated on existing sound equipment like Alexa or Siri. In the future, it even can be everywhere without any form. At this stage of the project, I think a “fine” prototype has no practical meaning, it is a limitation.

03. (pause)What Yugoo project opposes is the monopoly of using legal identity and kinship identity to define family members. So I decided to choose five strangers to experience my device. Usually, the audiences of the exhibition are strangers to each other. (restaring) I just took advantage of this fact. I regarded this easy and reasonable decision as a speculative expression method.

The subtitles on the left side of the screen are algorithms after simplify translated.

This experience requires the audiences to produce long-term footstep sound because only if, with a sufficient amount of sound data collected, Yugoo can identify the sound source as a family member. Due to facility restrictions, I decided to guide audiences to follow a certain route around the device, so I chose a cylindrical booth.

In order to let the audience integrate into the experiencing atmosphere of the Yugoo project as soon as possible, I added some functional props related to the family concept, such as a cylindrical booth, a cake and tableware. The cylinder is shaped like a round dining table, representing equality and sharing. The cake and tableware reflect that Yugoo gives every family member a sound identity that belongs to the same sweet chord, emphasizing the sense of wholeness while weakening the specific identity positioning and differentiation.

As the equipment gradually generates complete family chords, the lights shrouded in the cylindrical booth will gradually light up, enveloping people in the halo of love.






Polyamorous family is my main research model. In the current social environment, poly families are facing a very complex and difficult situation. Both adults and children will be affected and hurt by the traditional family values embodied in all aspects of their lives. As children grow up, they will gradually realise the uniqueness of their family compared to the surrounding environment, and begin to have self-doubt, and then keep secrets nervously. How much information should we disclosure to children about our adults’ relationship? As a family, how should we look like while we are exposing ourselves to the outside world?

The stigmatized and marginalized people are far more than poly families. But there’s no one should be blamed. In most occasions, harm is caused unintentionally, especially when we live in a reality which is monopolized by unique family values. No family can escape from being labelled by legal status and kinship system. Facts have shown that two important traditional identity mechanisms are not suitable for all situations, not to mention that the proportion of non-nuclear families is gradually increasing.

A research report pointed out that with the emergence of new concepts such as cooperative parenting and village parenting, some poly families have spontaneously established new kinship models at home. Inspired by non-native culture, adults accepted another identity label, such as 'fairy Oddfather' and 'Trible aunt'. This approach represents an emerging shared discourse among poly families and in poly communities in providing appropriate and affirming family and kinship terms as points of identification and belonging.

People in Facebook’s poly groups also confirmed this tendency. People have realized that harm comes from the differentiation and delimitation of families caused by traditional identity’s labelling mechanism, but they cannot find an appropriate alternative. It is a good idea to find another language with representative functions from people’s attributes. Comparing with labelling, Identifying people with their attributes has more blurred differentiation.


Sound can represent a lot of potential content. Using voice to convey status information is more gentle, more protective, and easier for people to accept than using legal identities and kinship to label people.

I interviewed a Nepalese monk who grew up in a Buddhist monastery, a place under “his” halo. I was quite surprised how those temples operate so well with a huge amount of monks with extremely various background. People there call each other with a given Buddhist name, take care of each other like a family, but they have never thought the monastery as a family. Family should be the place where people gather because of love. Nowadays, complex topics and affairs about family are so common, but monks regard family and members' identity as such a simple thing. Above is the juncture that I decided to explore inspiration from Buddhism.

Then I found Yugoo. I remember clearly that when I was a child, I went to temples many times to make wish, from the moment we stepped into that quiet architecture, everyone was captured by the unique sound of Yugoo. Its sound reverberates in that space and creates a halo of zen. Monks expect Yugoo sound to remind them to never forget his admonition.

When it’s quiet, the sound of footsteps takes a large part of family members’ interaction. In my memory, I could distinguish people by listening to their footsteps. That sound is one of the earliest identities. This identity will be replaced by other more complex identities given by society through our growth.

研究表明非核心家庭将会是未来占很大比重的家庭类型。 我认为用法律赋予家庭成员社会身份或依照生物学规则赋予亲属身份的做法,将不再适应未来的家庭需要。这个社会需要更包容和开放的身份定义方式去应付家庭类型多样化的冲击。




04. This design should translate complex footsteps sounds into artistic, unreadable directly and shorter notes to define family members. The process can reduce the exposure of information and eliminate the possibility of voice identity being re-labelled because of stereotyping. For example, high-heeled shoe sound must be made by female members. Another layer of sound covering on the top of footstep sound is more abstract with more blurred differentiation, it’s just a musical note!



It generates a unique harmonious tone as an identity for each family member by collecting and analysing their footstep sound. Once the tone is generated, my device will display the corresponding sound identity if it recognises that footstep again. I hope that Yugoo sound can keep its original reminding function by creating a harmonious sound environment.

A fundamental challenge is finding the connection between human movement behaviour and various detectable sound features. The pitch, timber, and particular noise determined by, such as walking habits, contact material, weight, correspond to a character's identity. Loudness and frequency relate to the current moving mode of the character. According to the current synthetic voice technology, the voice identities that Yugoo can generate have endless possibilities. This is the premise that Yugoo will cover a wide range of users in the future. The combination of various sound parameters can make footstep sound analysis and sound identity very precise.



Compared with noise, musical notes have more obvious Regularity. According to this principle, Modern technologies are able to distinguish and reduce noise. Footstep sound is similar to notes. Yugoo can recognise noise around in using circumstances, which makes it more sensible to footsteps.

Our sound team, engineer and I  co-worked online through out the whole project process. Earlier, we found that without human operation, Yugoo sound generated automatically was mostly unharmonious. We introduced chord concept into the project aiming to optimise this situation. Every chord may consist of 1 to infinite number of tones. Without tone number’s limitation, yugoo suits any types of family with no matter how many members.
音乐性的节奏 相比噪音有一定的规律性。现代技术可以根据这个原理将两者区分开并用算法降低噪音。脚步声和音符类似。Yugoo能够识别并忽视环境中的噪音。这一做法使Yugoo对脚步声更为灵敏。


We added movement pattern analysis module to diversify Yugoo’s performance. According to analyse of loudness and frequency, we sorted users movement patterns into six basic elements, slowing down, speeding up, uniform speed, running, moving towards and moving away. With variety of their combination, sound identity becomes preciser and various. Yugoo’s sound display is not boring repetitions anymore while interacting with users.
为了多样化Yugoo的声音表现,我们增加了移动模式分析模块。根据对音量和频率分析结果的不同,我们将用户的行走模式分成了六个基本模式:加速、减速、匀速移动、快速移动、靠近和远离. 加上这六种基本模式的组合,声音身份变得更加准确和多样化。 设备与用户进行交互时,声音展示也不再是单调的声音重复。

We suggest to put Yugoo somewhere with a bigger flow of people, no matter it is at home or in public space. According to users’ interaction mode and detailed needs, we designed a series of recommended loudness limits for different using circumstances to ensure Yugoo’s proper sense of existence.

Then we added movement prediction module to deal with certain situations, such as strong noise disturbing, footsteps overlap or sudden loudness drop. Yugoo also has a mixing plug-in to optimise sound fluency in multiple-user-interactions.



4. I hope to give the project a solid meaning in society so an evaluation is necessary.

01.Different from traditional identities, sound identity is not constrained by uniform definition frames. What it expresses and emphasises is the difference of people rather than the difference of labels. There may be 12 people in ten families labelled as fathers, but nobody will have the same sound identity.

02.Traditional identity is a label posted onto people by legal and biological frameworks, while sound identity is a proper application of human’s attribute.

03.Due to Yugoo’s chord mechanism and concept, people’s sound identity will always be affected by other family members and updated at any time. It respects more the harmony and complementarity of the family as a whole. While,  traditional identities highlight the role and position of each person in a family, and in most cases, it accompanies people for life.




05. We envision that people’s sound identity will be store on the cloud as data in the future. As new IDs, these identities will work in specific occasions.

Traditional identities are detailed expression in both necessary and unnecessary situations. For example, father in law means a person’s legal partner’s legal father. While, sound identity is detailed and blended. It represents a certain person but mostly, it helps verify families’ boundary, which means that it proofs someone from a family. Through weaken traditional identities’ family framing effects, Yugoo and sound identity can help harm-neutralised verification in unnecessary occasions for protecting special groups.

After analysis about thousands-years complex relationship of traditional identities and human society, we confirmed sound identity’s limitation. We can only regard it as an alternative but not a replacement of the traditional ones, because sound identity has not mandatory and morally binding, what’s more, a large part of human culture relies on blood relationship.

传统的法律身份和亲属身份在任何场合都是对一种关系的具体表达。比如”岳父“指的是一个人的法定配偶的法定父亲。而声音身份是一种既具体又模糊的身份。它同样能代表一个特定的人,但它更多时候用于验证家庭的边界,也就是代表这个人属于某个家庭。通过弱化法律身份和亲属身份对家庭样貌的塑造, Yugoo和声音身份能够在非必要场合进行伤害中和化的验证,以保护特殊群体。


06. Let us have a quick view of verification technologies’ development. We seem to chase for higher precision all the way. However, sound verification is for blurring harmful identity features. It serves in the family category, not personal category.

Such as in internet-related fields, unlocking children’s lock and sensitive information, or in real life, Kindergarten children hand over secure identity verification, Hospital ward visits and parent meeting registration. The mainstream family value supported by legal identity and kinship identity affects our lives from any perspective. Yugoo and sound identity may be one small step for solving this problem, but it also may be one giant leap for children who need it.

Yugoo identity is suitable in most cases when a genuine family relationship is all people need to pass verification. We just follow the requirement of walking performance combination. This is a brilliant way to reduce family identity difference exposure compared with current ways under the traditional identifying framework.

When verifying, Yugoo sound identity can accurately locate a person, but if it is unnecessary, the process will stop after recognising that target people belong to a certain family. However, traditional verification methods seek to answer “Who is that?” accurately under any circumstances.
让我们快速了解一下验证技术的发展。 我们似乎一直在追求更高的精度。 然而,声音验证是为了模糊有害的身份特征。 它的优势体现在家庭范畴,而不是个人范畴。

如在互联网相关领域,解锁儿童锁和敏感信息;或在现实生活中,幼儿园儿童交接安全的身份验证、医院病房探访和家长会登记。Yugoo的潜在应用价值有很多,因为法律身份和亲属身份支持的主流家庭价值观从各个角度影响着我们的生活。 Yugoo和声音身份可能是解决这个问题的一小步,但对于需要它的孩子来说,它也可能是一大步。




07. This is an impact order diagram. My audience includes people whose work or life is closely related to family elements and children, such as family audiences, human rights organizations, social workers, media and other influencers. In my plan, they will be directly affected. The success of my project lies in the approval and authorization of the secondarily affected target, the government. I hope that those directly affected can convey my project’s main purpose and demands to the government through various channels. The government’s positive response will benefit ordinary families from all aspects and give Yugoo a foothold in society. This is a challenge to the tradition and mainstream values. I see it as activism in the form of product design.
Yugoo and voice identification system are a supplement to the two existing identification systems in current society. While this society needs precise and sharp systems, it also needs a gentler one. This helps make society more tolerant and fluid and ultimately weakens the social contradictions of family differentiation and boundary.
Yugoo is a speculative design for exhibitions. So far, the way I verify it has been mainly by collecting and analyzing the replies and comments of the target audiences on social media.

我将 Yugoo和声音身份识别看作是对社会现有的两套识别系统的补充。这个社会需要精准的识别系统的同时,也需要更温和的一个。这有助于让社会变得更包容和流畅,最终达到弱化差异化和边界化带来的社会矛盾的效果。作为一个设计师,挑战人类传统和社会底线是一件疯狂的事情,但这是我喜欢的课题。除去后面待发展的内容,Yugoo是只为展览而做的思辨设计。到目前为止,我验证它的方式主要是通过收集并分析社交媒体上目标观众的回复和评论。