Capillary Rhythm – Nalo (2016)

Capillary Rhythm – Nalo (2016)

Nature in the digital age – Nalo

Just like in plants, the photovoltaic liquid rises in the morning, collecting and converting the power from the sun and receding towards the end of the day and resting overnight. For this project – a speaker to be used and experienced within nature – Nicole Hone experimented with low-cost FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) 3d printing which led to her discovery that she could produce a double-wall profile with an intact cavity inside. Fine-tuning of the printing parameters resulted in a cavity that could work like a plants’ phloem and transport the liquid through capillary action.

The experience of listening to music is taken to a new level by re-connecting one with nature and reaping more than just emotional rewards. The physical and mental benefits of being outside and touching soil are well documented and have been taken into careful consideration of the design.

Nalo displays physical characteristics that clearly place it in the realm of digital products, but the mechanism powering it is based on processes omnipresent in nature. Acknowledging these processes is not only paying homage, but extending our capacity to co-create with nature.

Nicole Hone

Nicole has always had a passion for visual arts and graphics and discovered that the Industrial Design program at Victoria University in Wellington (New Zealand) offered the opportunity to make her ideas become tactile reality (which other people could interact with). Her latest project under the supervision of Ross Stevens is a speaker that combines the intricate versatility of 3D printing and the natural phenomenon of capillary action with the beauty of flowering plants and their daily rhythm.

Materials and Processes – close-up


This project was designed with Rhinoceros 5.


Here Nicole has made a simple mono material 3D printed object and added another material (liquid) that interacts with the ridged print to produce a fluid performance. Using FDM is distinctly different to the other projects featured that have used sophisticated multi-property printing processes to create dynamic qualities. The advantage of the printers being in-house not only enabled a quick turn-around time, assessment of each development stage was quicker too.

Project level

Under-Graduate, Course name: Digital Form INDN 311, course coordinator: Ross Stevens.