Meet the smart speaker that knows you better than you do...
Smart home tech is great at getting to know us. Thermostats learn our heating habits, door locks know when we’re home from work, and kettles boil when we wake up in the morning. And now, it seems, our speakers detect when we’re sad.
MoodBox is a wireless speaker that claims to do just that. Boasting 360˚ hi-fi sound, voice control and a smart brain with ’emotional intelligence’. MoodBox reckons it can choose your music according to whether you’re happy, sad, stressed, tired and so on.
MoodBox calls its emotional intelligence tech Emi, who we may as well go full hog and refer to as ‘she’ if we’re going to fully embrace the anthropomorphic gadget idea. She uses algorithms that analyse your speech and behaviour at particular times of the day to suss out your way of speaking, and also monitors the music you listen to at particular times to day to learn what music makes you tick. Her predictive analytics enable her to recall the same music again in the future when it’s needed.
Emi has a voice too. If she senses you’re in a bit of a funk when you wake up in the morning, for instance, she might say, “Good morning, Sarah! Let’s start the day with some energising Motown!” before whacking on a playlist. She’s rather nice, actually, even asking how your day was and responding with empathetic suggestions for a tune.
Presumably for now, MoodBox and its obliging voice assistant deal with a relatively basic range of human emotions. If you’re after a music player that can detect your existential crisis combined with deep self-loathing and feelings about the futility of life, you’re probably barking up the wrong tree. But if you’re happy with a Meatloaf ballad every time you need a pick-me-up, MoodBox is your gal.
Like all good smart speakers, MoodBox has an app that puts you in control, with the option to link up streaming apps like Spotify, Pandora and internet radio. The app also shows a timeline of your moods, letting you see how they fluctuate (or don’t) throughout the day, week and year. There’s also a built-in light that alters its hue to match your jam.
MoodBox has survived the intense scrutiny of Indiegogo and is up for pre-order at $149 (around £112).