Phone-powered smart speaker concept reads your mood to play the right music for work

Not everyone likes listening to music, but even those will perhaps begrudgingly agree that certain kinds of music can have different effects on one’s mood or mental state. Next to entertainment or the sheer joy of listening to favorite tunes, the most common use of music is to set the right mood, whether it’s to relax, to get pumped, or to be more productive. That said, musical tastes can be quite subjective, and even the kind of harmonies that you like could be affected by your mood at any given time. It can be quite taxing to change playlists or tracks every time, so rather than relying on your fingers and your own mind, why not let your phone do the work for you? This desk speaker concept does exactly that, analyzing your mood and picking the right music to help you finish your work, studies, or any other task you need to get done.

Designer: Junyoung Lee

People who love playing music while they work most likely have a library of tunes selected to help massage their grey matter, especially during slow hours. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of music can be thwarted by moods, emotions, and physical conditions. Sometimes we’re just stuck in a slump and manually picking out a more appropriate playlist only adds to the stress and traps you in a vicious mental cycle.

MIX:X is a smart speaker system that uses the power of your smartphone and machine learning to automate that process so you won’t have to lift a finger when your brain or heart is just too tired to care. You simply dock the phone in front of the tall, boxy speaker to start the process. The large camera at the bottom keeps a constant watch on the person’s face in front of it, particularly their facial expressions, and using computer vision, machine learning, and algorithms, it tries to identify the mood that the person is in. Depending on what mood that is, it will switch to a different playlist that will help get you into a more productive working state.

Part of the MIX:X speaker’s solution is actually not the device itself but the app that comes with it. Here you select the songs that you like and associate them with certain moods. The app’s AI analyzes the music selection and uses that as a pool to choose from when your mood shifts one way or another. It doesn’t simply get music out of thin air (or the Internet), giving you some amount of control to limit the choices to your preferences.

In that sense, the MIX:X speaker is simply a box with speakers facing sideways and a camera, though it definitely has an interesting aesthetic. It has transparent panels for its sides and back, putting the sophisticated electronics inside on display. The rest of the device’s design is pretty minimal, with a single dial for the volume. If there’s one glaring flaw in its design, it’s the fact that it seems to support only a specific model or size of a specific phone, namely an iPhone, which severely limits how much this concept can be used outside of that single device.