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Poster Submission for Developed Voice Assistant

A. One Line Introduction


Sir Edwards is a radio cassette player, manufactured in London during the mid-1900s, who faces a rude awakening into the 21 st century, prompting the user to console and hence build a mutually beneficial relationship with the object (Sir Edwards).

B. Description


Sir Edwards is a radio cassette player manufactured in the mid-1900s, in one of the first ever radio cassette production lines in London. Brought to India by the East India company, he finds himself woken up in 2022 after a long break from the world when found in my grandmother’s closet. He still carries with him a sense of  pride, being one of the originals and is having a bit of a hard time keeping up with time as he finds himself remembering headlines from 1949 and asking us to put in cassettes to play music. The interaction is an almost rude awakening for him into the modern world and his age leaves his head hurting with this new information so he often just wants to retire for a nap. With Sir Edwards, there's an amalgamation of the learned reverence he has for his "masters", as was the tradition of that era, along with moments of self expression as his own thoughts are often expressed when he’s surprised or shocked with realizations about the modern world.

C. Process Documentation

i. Initial Brainstorming

Initially I started with listing the 30 ideas but I was having a hard time following the classification process we covered in class afterward as I wanted to think a little more deeply as the object embodying human emotions and this way, I could only think of  instances where an object felt a human emotion.


ii. Exploring the work of other designers with Things


I looked at these websites for inspiration:








They are all extremely random at first glance but each gave me an idea of how the designers are interacting with their product.


What inspired me to start down the process I did was this quote on a furniture design website:


"The thing about love is that it doesn’t wait to be invited in...– suddenly it is just there, among piles of dirty laundry and the plastic debris of children’s toys."

iii. For the rest of my process, I held on to these two pointers: 


So I started jotting down (slightly random)human emotions and states that felt interesting to me and exploring how far I can go with them and here’s the outcome:

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iv. The Moment:


At this point I realized that the “Old Jukebox” embodied a whole list of features I was looking for in a Thing, for a human to be able to care for it (I immediately thought of my grandparent’s old radio I used to play with as a child and how it felt like a time machine into a history i only knew of and saw little elements of but would never actually live through)


It was easy to define its origin, assume its personality and I got to sketching how it might interact with an actual user and the world around it!

v. The Design:

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v. Further Considerations for Execution:

- Technical movement (not required for submission)

- Sound Effects

- Voice of narrator/accent of voice assistant

- Create the spark at the end (not required for submission)

vi. Final Flow

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In Progress: Physical responsive model currently in making. Watch this space for an update!

D. Problems Faced 

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I initially faced a bit of difficulty bucketing the ideas I had in class and took to some reading and literature research to draw inspiration from and understand the essence of the project.

Fix: More on this has been captured above under "ii. Exploring the work of other designers with Things"

The next problem arose when I tries translating my script directly into a user-agent interaction. I was struggling to comprehend that its okay to have one user handing case per promt.
Fix: As simple as it sounds now, this took a bit of back and forth and editing the script to adapt it from the text I had and translate it to a flow on the google console.

I reached out to a classmate (Jacob) who had a similar back and forth banter to figure it out.

The biggest difficulty for me arose when I tried using a different language, expecting that to change the accent of the agent. Not only did it not do that (Fix: I figured out how to do that later on from the Test window itself) but it brought an onslew of problems that required a lot of iterative fixing.

- Every time I switched between English to UK English, parts of my code (that I had created in the other language) would disappear and I didn't know what was happening.

- I kept getting this error 

Fix: The single fix to these problems was using only one single language (only US English) took care of all these problems.

The final issue was that that I wanted to clean up the code with slot filling instead of user handling and was completely stumped by this problem:

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Fix: The only fix unfortunately, was to use user handling and it made very little logical sense but after working on trying to solve it for a day or two, I tried to go ahead with user handling on Brian's advice since I lost a lot of time trying to work through every step to check what was wrong.

This issue occurred at other points too but those were easy fixes in the NLU training.

Fix: At the other points, this error was an easy fix ( thanks to me peers again!) and removing capitalisation in the NLU training to match exactly the main intent and using fuzzy matching.

And that is all, Thank you!

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