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June 06, 2017
The light that listens!
By: Mustafa Bounasser
The light that listens

I’ve been having some fun recently with smart lightbulbs… I have created a prototype for a light that listens!

I brought the prototype down to London and thought I would show some of the Innovation Programme team down there what I’ve been up to. I plugged my light bulbs in and started to say sentences like:

“I’m really angry”
“I’m super happy”

Initially they looked at me as if I had gone mad—to be honest it’s not the most normal behaviour so I didn’t blame them. And then they realised that the lights were changing colour based on what I was saying. Unfortunately, I’m not a magician so this wasn’t a cool magic trick but I do like to think I have some creativity when it comes to playing with technology. What I had done was created an IoT platform and plugged it into IBM Alchemy. The three smart bulbs listen for words that indicate your mood.

This is a fun gadget to play with but there are some real-life applications for this. The light analyses the sentiment of your language and by applying some psychological principles we can enhance or try to counter people’s emotions. Our initial thoughts are that this could be great in an office environment to help people relax in stressful environments or assist in changing or encouraging emotions in meetings as well as encouraging fun and creativity in other meetings.

Other applications of the lights could be in a sales environment. If you were out shopping the colour of the lights can change based on the sentiment in the shop to encourage the right mood and a positive experience, increasing the chances of a purchase.

The prototype I created is pretty basic at the moment but with more work I am hoping to make it more sophisticated in its understanding of the conversation, and with additional lights and colours—who knows what is possible!

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