The desire to create a product which genuinely understands and can react to our moods and desires, or at least does as good enough impression so as to not matter, has long been a goal for innovators.
Created by inventor Patrick Levy Rosenthal, EmoSPARK claims to do just that.
EmoSPARK is an Android and iPhone powered Wi-Fi/ Bluetooth Cube which connects to a TV and uses specially written software which creates an ‘emotionally concise intelligence’ through conversation, music and visual media.
In a similar way to a service like Siri, users can ask for an answer to a question, to show a video, play some favourite music, deliver news, weather etc, however, the product goes further and uses information from spoken interactions as well as data farmed from IP cameras, including facial recognition and movement, to build an appreciation of the user’s emotional state and deliver an enhanced experience.
This experience will include a presentation of the user’s own music and information as well as pulling down audio, video and images from the Internet using services such as YouTube, Wikipedia, Freebase, NASA satellite and MODIS.
So the idea is, the user gets home from work, they look tired and fed up; EmoSPARK might play some music or a video to cheer them up.
EmoSPARK can react to commands and requests from several users, but will only emotionally bond with one ‘owner’ and offer the enhanced services of building an emotionally driven understanding of behaviour to that person.
The EmoSPARK Cube can also be accessed remotely through a smart phone or tablet so the user can interact with the product when not at home.
Using emotion text analysis and content analysis as well as the user’s reaction to content, all measured over time, the Cube creates a customised Emotional Profile Graph (EPG) to deliver intuitive responses.
Marketed currently as a consumer product available to buy online, installer interest in the technology in its current form may be limited.
Batches of 25 to 50 are available at a discount for any installers that feel they can find a niche for the product.
However, could technology like this be driving the next development stages of more established home automation systems and consumer products?
Created at this stage from a crowdfunding initiative, Patrick explained that his aim was to create a smooth over-arching experience away from the normal voice recognition Apps and automation which merely react to questions or deliver experiences using timed or sequenced macros.
Patrick’s aim was to really target the emotions of the user and try to build data from there and create a closer bond between the technology and the user.
“Services like Siri can tell you things sure, but they can’t SHOW you things, they are passive, where as our system binds to the user and is pro-active not re-active,” says Patrick.
To add to the emotional recognition capability of the IP cameras, the team are working next on enhancing the cube’s ability to capture emotion via the spoken word.
This type of technology really gets interesting when the creators say they are more than happy to look at offering the technology for inclusion in other products and platforms – home automation platforms being one rather obvious example.
If the technology can really be proven, it could be a very interesting addition to home automation systems which rely currently on doing what they are told.
What if platforms and products could ‘learn’ enough about a user to depart from merely being told what to do, but deliver AV content or automated building services, based on what it ‘thinks’ the user what to experience?
The company is currently working on including Samsung TV within its functionality spectrum and it seems likely the TV giant won’t be the last to try out this type of approach.