Move over HAL: the Prizm music player senses our presence and learns our tastes

like hal 9000 prizm knows want hear dark
Like it or not, we humans increasingly count on technology to help run our lives. From Pandora to Google maps, our smartphones often call the shots. Still, while futurists may be terrified artificial intelligence could usher in a real-life Skynet nuclear holocaust, most of us still think our technology could be doing better. That’s the idea behind the Prizm, a music streaming device on Kickstarter designed to learn and program what you want to listen to, when you want to listen.

The Prizm works by melding a host of technologies into a singular, adaptive interface. Constructed into a minimalist pyramid, the device connects to any powered speaker system via Bluetooth, 3.5mm, or Optical digital output. The system runs a Linux based OS, and its algorithm is based partly in the device itself, and partly in the cloud, automatically sourcing music over Wi-Fi directly from Spotify, Soundcloud, or Deezer. But that’s just the start of this little silver box’s bag of tricks.

While connected to your local network, the Prizm can sense any smartphone or wearable with which it has interfaced, in essence, sensing your presence so that it can start playing your favorite music right when you walk in the room. The device learns what you don’t like via the skip button on the side, and adds new songs to your playlist when you touch the heart. Via the controller app for iOS and Android, you can also set the Prizm to wake you in the morning, or fall asleep with you at night. And to keep things fresh, the Prizm is designed to playback a different song each time you rise. But the Prizm goes further.

Using an acoustic sensor to detect the ambience of the room, the Prizm knows if there’s a party going down, and will pump up the jams. If the room is quiet, it senses a calm night in, and slows things down. And thanks to its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth sensors for smartphones, it can also delve deeper, sensing if your significant other or roommate is present, and adjusting the playlist accordingly. The more you interact with the Prizm, the more it discovers about your music habits, growing with you to better express your tastes.

If that all sounds a little bit like big brother — or maybe HAL 9000 — that’s because it is. We’re not alarmists, but let’s just say we wouldn’t want to give this little box the keys to the nuclear arsenal just yet. But jokes aside, if the Prizm really works (and that’s a big “if” when it comes to smart devices), it might just be one of the most intuitive musical companions on the market. And perhaps most impressively, it’s pretty damned affordable too.

The project is already funded, but at the time of publication, there were still plenty of Prizms left on Kickstarter at the $119 Early Bird price point. From there it goes up to $129 for faster delivery, and $199 for two of them. The Prizm is expected to launch in June of next year, and with 31 days left, the device is only around $30,000 shy of its first stretch goal, which will make available a rainbow of color choices. Unfortunately, Scarlett Johansson’s voice is not an option.

We’re certainly not convinced the Prizm will deliver on all its promises, but we’re very intrigued, and hope to get our hands on one soon to give the system a test drive. You can order your own Prizm now from the Kickstarter page — just make sure you don’t give it control of the pod bay doors.

Cars

How autonomous ridesharing will reshape our cars, cities, and lives

Ridesharing is a growing phenomenon, and it’s closely linked with developments in autonomous and connectivity technology. In the coming decades, shared mobility will even change the way cities around the world develop.
Home Theater

Become a master caster with these Google Chromecast tips and tricks

Google's Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra are the ultimate budget-friendly streaming devices for cord cutters. We've put together a list of our favorite tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your Chromecast.
Gaming

Here is our ‘World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth’ leveling guide

This 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth' leveling guide will help you quickly rise from level to the new expansion's maximum of 120. Most of these tips work even for new players who've never touched the game before.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Music

Spotify may eventually allow free users to skip all ads

Spotify is rolling out a new feature that may allow free users to skip ads whenever they want. Currently, the test is being conducted in Australia but if successful, it may be spread to other countries.
Product Review

Optoma’s NuForce BE Free5 wireless earbuds cut the price, keep the good sound

Taking out all the wires and glossy paint, Optoma still gives its NuForce BE Free5 the goods to play audio better than Apple’s AirPods at a cheaper price. But are these the affordable true wireless earbuds for you?
Home Theater

Do you need an $8,000 gold-plated digital music player? Sony made one anyway

Sony's new DMP-Z1 digital music player features "audiophile-grade" sound quality and a gold-plated volume knob to let everyone around you know you take your music extremely seriously.
Music

Listen up! These are the best movie soundtracks of all time

Whether you're a lover of beautifully composed original scores or a fan of perfectly compiled background music, these are the best movie soundtracks of all time — from Star Wars to Garden State.
Music

How to convert and play FLAC music files on your iPhone or iPad

The high-resolution revolution is upon us, and FLAC files are a popular way to store hi-res sound. But what if you’re an iOS user? Check out our article to find out more about FLAC files, and how to use them on Apple devices.
Music

How to clean your records to keep them looking good and sounding sweet

Vinyl records are back in a big way, but the sound quality can suffer if you don't keep them clean. Check out our tips for keeping your vinyl and stylus immaculate, so you can hear every note of your favorite tunes.
Mobile

T-Mobile partners with Live Nation, Pandora to offer customers more perks

T-Mobile made a few other announcements today: Not only has the carrier partnered up with Live Nation to provide offers, but customers will also be getting a free year of Pandora Plus.
Home Theater

Let your vinyl sound even better with one of the best phono preamps

Whether you're looking for a quick fix to set up your first turntable or a long-term audio upgrade for higher-quality sound, here are the best phono preamps you can buy that won't empty out your wallet.
Mobile

Verizon Unlimited users can now sign up for 6 free months of Apple Music

Verizon's latest offer stands to benefit both Apple Music and its own subscribers, as the one-of-a-kind deal is likely to be compelling to both existing and potential new subscribers. .
Music

Say a little prayer for Aretha Franklin: Iconic soul singer passes away at 76

Iconic soul singer Aretha Franklin has passed away at age 76. Considered among the most powerful voices of her generation, Franklin inspired millions with compelling songs about respect, prayer, and love.