I’ve written about Gramofon and Rocki, two devices that plug into your speakers and stream music. What if you didn’t have to pull out your phone or tablet every time you wanted to stream music from the cloud to your speakers?
That’s what Prizm promises.
Prizm, the “learning music player”, has just been funded on Kickstarter. The device is expected to ship to backers in June, 2015.
Prizm is a triangular prism shaped device that automatically streams music from the cloud to your speakers. By “automatically” I mean that you can pair devices and wearables to trigger the Prizm when you enter the room. Multiple users can pair their devices. Prizm will play different tracks depending on who is in the room.
The Kickstarter page says Prizm stores user data in “the cloud”. So if you go to a friends’ house and they have a Prizm, their device will recognize your tastes. This brings up questions of data security… do you really want any random Prizm knowing who you are?
Since Prizm stores your data, it can learn what music you like over time. It learns from the tracks you heart and skip, and figures out what type of music you listen to at different times of day. Heart and skip buttons are located on the Prizm, but music can also be controlled from an optional app. You can set it to wake you up in the morning, and to turn down the volume as you go to sleep at night.
Prizm also has a sound sensor to figure out how many people are in the room. It will play something different if two people are in the room vs. a full house having a party.
Prizm pulls tracks via WiFi from SoundCloud, Spotify Premium, Deezer Premium, or connected devices. They’re also working on adding Last.fm, Rhapsody, and Rdio. Prizm then sends tracks to your speakers via stereo jack, optical cable, Bluetooth, AirPlay, or DLNA.
This device fits right in as we move towards automated air conditioners and door locks, and I could see myself using it. However, I’d suggest this essay by musician Holly Herndon on the privacy struggle in the digital age as further reading.