digest | Solo: the smart + emotional radio

Deepening our human + machine interaction.
September 10, 2019

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— in this post –

~ story
~ featurette
~ reading


— featurette —

group: Uniform
featurette title: Solo: the emotional radio

watch | this featurette

— story —

Solo is a smart digital radio that interacts with people — scanning the faces on on-lookers to determine their moods, then finding the perfect song to match how you feel.

Built by the innovative product design studio Uniform, Solo explores the shift towards a more human artificial intelligence. Uniform calls Solo an “emotional radio” — that heralds the future of friendlier, more playful computer software.

— how it works —

Solo combines facial feature recognition with music valence — to read nuances of expression and match songs to your current mood.

Sensing movement, Solo draws you in with its artsy antenna. As you get closer, it takes your photo. Then Solo sends that photo to a Microsoft application program interface — that analyses facial features — and sends that info back again as an emotional breakdown, with values measuring your happiness, sadness, and upset.

Solo translates these figures into a valence rating that corresponds with Spotify’s track valence ratings. Then Solo plays the song it thinks you want to hear most. Kind of like a mix CD from a friend who knows you personally.

Solo highlights an AI capability called atypical feature recognition. The designers at Uniform predict this skill will improve — as computer software algorithms become more sophisticated.

— connecting with humans —

AI has much to learn about our aesthetic individuality, and Solo explores a more sensitive human + machine connection through the medium of music. Uniform created Solo to showcase how AI can be programmed with empathy.

The future of software + device design will go beyond data / services — toward better human interaction. This especially has implications for service robots in household, health care, and hospitality. And for personal assistants that live on smart-phones + smart-home appliances.

The engineers at Uniform said: “When you try Solo, you think about how tech is changing — and how its relationship with us is changing. So as computer intelligence goes deeper into our daily life, it must understand us emotionally. And engage us in more human ways.”

on the web | pages

Uniform | home
Uniform | Solo

Uniform | Vimeo channel
Uniform | featurette: studio profile

on the web | pages

Microsoft | home
Spotify | home


on the web | reading

the Guardian | Meet Solo: the emotional radio that plays music to suit your mood

BBC | Do you really want a radio that reads your mood?
BBC | Can this radio detect your mood and play songs to match?

on the web | reading

Towards Data Science • Medium | AI capabilities in image recognition

— notes —

AI = artificial intelligence

[ story file ]

story title: digest | Solo: the smart + emotional radio
deck: Deepening our human + machine interaction.
year: 2019
folder: stories on progress

[ end of file ]