Smart speakers have rightfully created a space for themselves as the easiest way to play music in your home, but they come with a small drawback. It's not the easiest thing for people other than the main account holder to load up their own music services and playlists.
Danish design studio Swift Creatives is looking to solve that with its new Shared Music Lamp prototype. The lamp hangs from a ceiling and is pointed down at a surface, like a table or kitchen top. When you place your phone down under it, the lamp uses AR powers to project a bunch of circles representing your music.
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You click on a circle to play a song. When you friend comes over, they can just place down their own phone and their favorite music will be projected onto the surface too. Shared favorite albums will be highlighted by big bubbles, while more individual choices are smaller.
Once you're all set, you can swivel the lamp 90 degrees, pointing it toward a wall, and it'll project music videos too. The lamp combines a number of technologies, from being an actual speaker to Xbox Kinect-like projection and mapping, to being an actual light source. Carsten Eriksen, co-CEO of Swift Creatives, said the company wants to link as many accounts to the Shared Music Lamp as possible - that means Alexa, Apple, Spotify, Google and other services and assistants.
While this is an incredibly cool prototype that gives us goosebumps for the exciting future of AR in the smart home, there are also a bunch of questions that need to be answered. How does it recognize individual phones when placed below it, if most phones look the same? Can they get all those services together in one product, when companies like Sonos still haven't managed to do it?
Plus, smart speaker companies are surely looking to add collaborative features into the mix in the near future. For example, AirPlay 2 allows HomePod owners and Apple Music subscribers to collaborate. If you go to a friend's home and they have a HomePod, AirPlay 2 will let you contribute to a shared playlist right from your own phone without doing much setup. Regardless, we truly hope Swift is able to pull this off.