video | Uniform: solo the emotional radio

Friendly, playful computer software with artificially intelligent design
April 10, 2017

video | Uniform
Solo the emotional radio, picks music for your mood.

about from Uniform | Imagine the impossible. Uniform is a a design and innovation company. We use design, innovation and imagination to create change.

Solo is an emotional radio that heralds the future of friendlier, more playful computer artificial intelligence.

Through exploring the creative, interpretive potential of AI*, solo connects to our emotions through mood inspired radio.

Born from a design sprint exploring the shift towards a more human artificial intelligence, solo combines facial feature recognition with music valence to read the nuance of expression and match tracks to your current mood.

Sensing movement, solo draws you in with its playful antenna. As you approach it takes your photo.

It then sends that photo to a Microsoft application program interface that analyses features and sends that information 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. Solo then plays the track it thinks you want to hear most. Kind of like a mix CD from a friend with great taste.

Solo highlights an artificial intelligence ability called atypical feature recognition. And we predict that capability will improve as computer algorithms increase in sophistication. AI has a lot to learn about our aesthetic individuality, and solo helps that because when it gets it wrong, it’s through the medium of music.

Through solo, we’ve learned the tech possibilities for designing AI through human characteristics (such as emotion) are endless. Solo instills empathy in AI — and predicts the future of designing AI will go beyond data and service, towards the human. Solo shows how tech can mean something to people, not just the tech industry.

When you try Solo, you think about how tech is changing — and how its relationship with us is changing. As computer intelligence goes deeper into our daily life, it should understand us on an emotional level, and use that understanding in playful and engaging ways.

While the idea of a mood ­dependent radio may seem simple, we knew the challenge of incorporating human characteristics — here, the fallibility of musical selection based on emotion — would be significant.

* AI is artificial intelligence

on the web | essentials

Uniform | main
Uniform | solo
Uniform | Vimeo channel

on the web | background

Microsoft | main
Spotify | main