The Yandex Smart Speaker concept feels friendly and human-like, because it sort of looks like one

There’s a slight sense of dissonance when you’re talking to a cylinder with LEDs around it, and it talks back. The Echo, the Nest Home, the Apple Homepod, all have a slightly homogenous shape that looks like a gadget, but behaves like a human. The conceptual Yandex Station hopes to make a slight alteration to that dissonance. Shaped to look like a Matryoshka doll (you know those Russian nesting dolls), the Yandex Station looks like a speaker, but bridges the gap by anthropomorphized it and ‘feeling’ almost like a human.

Designed by Belarus-based Kiryl Miahkou, the smart speaker concept for Yandex has an instantly friendly demeanor to it, with not so much as a sharp edge to be seen anywhere. The rounded forms, almost human proportions, and the presence of a touchscreen interface exactly where you’d expect the face to be, everything contributes to the Yandex Station’s ability to appear affable. The speaker comes with a wraparound fabric clad, like most speakers, sporting classic decor-friendly hues, while a touchscreen interface on the top lets you navigate through the speaker’s features… or you could just talk to Yandex’s voice AI, knowing that you ARE speaking to an artificial human, but at least the speaker’s design is trying to bridge that gap and humanize the speaker instead of blindly opting for a sleek tech-y exterior.

Designer: Kiryl Miahkou